Adwoa Buahene, Habitat for Humanity GTA

 
Adwoa is a life-long volunteer, currently as the board chair of VHA Home Homecare, and as an active United Wat volunteer. Most recently, Adwoa co-founded and built a boutique leadership consulting and training company that works with the private and not-for-profit sectors, as well as all three levels of government. Her prior roles have seen her work in Munich, Toronto, Bucharest and Mumbai. She has a master’s degree in Analytic Philosophy, and is currently the VP of Donor Partnerships for Habitat for Humanity GTA.
 
Adwoa told us how Rotary impacted her life and helped foster a passion for helping others. When Adwoa was a high school student in Thunder Bay, Rotary gave her the opportunity to attend a student United Nations event in Winnipeg. This started her down a path of global thinking. When she was a student at Dalhousie University, Rotary helped again by awarding her with an Ambassadorial Scholarship. She used this money to travel to France and learn French. During this time she attended local Rotary club meetings and adopted the ideology of giving service and investing in our community.  This sent her down a path of volunteering and working with others to build better communities. This eventually led her to Habitat for Humanity.
 
“Habitat for Humanity Canada was founded in 1985, and is a national, nonprofit organization working toward a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to call home. We bring communities together to help families build strength, stability and independence through affordable home ownership.”
 
Habitat for Humanity is a complex organization with several keys roles including:
  • Land developer
  • Builder
  • Fund raising and volunteer management
  • Mortgage lender
  • Homeowner education assistance
Habitat for Humanity partners with working, low-income families to help them afford a home, but it’s not a handout. Habitat homeowners’ must prove they are good risks with credit and income tests. They must also have dependents, and contribute at least 500 volunteer hours. Loans are interest free and amortized over 20 years with monthly payments set at no more than 30 percent of their gross household income, including principal repayment and property tax. Once they move in, Habitat homeowners are responsible for maintaining their own home, but they are helped with education classes, ranging from financial literacy and budgeting to home-repair and maintenance. As a Habitat homeowner pays off their mortgage, the money is invested into a revolving fund, which is used by the local Habitat to build more homes for families in their community.
 
Many low cost rentals in Toronto are in dangerous neighborhoods, are small, and in poor condition (mold, pests, etc…). So it comes as no surprise that 76% of families helped by habitat reported their children are doing better in school, and 85% report having better health.
 
Walter W thanked Adwoa and presented Habitat for Humanity with a donation of $7,500.
 
 
Norma reminded everyone that RTE has committed to assisting on a Habitat for Humanity build this year. Between 5 and 15 volunteers will be needed (possibly in June) and more details will follow.