Global Village Spotlight: Johanna Fernandez
April 26, 2017
“I could talk about Global Village for hours, just ask anyone who’s talked to me!”
In honour of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to feature some of the thousands of volunteers whose support make it possible for Habitat to provide families with safe and decent housing at home and abroad. Whether you help out at a ReStore, on a Habitat build, or take part in a Global Village trip, we wouldn’t be able to do it without you!
For Johanna Fernandez, a mother of two, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village began in 2008. Her oldest son came back from a Habitat Global Village trip to Zambia to build homes with nothing but great things to say. She decided it was her turn to make a difference in another community and soon enough found herself building homes alongside a community of dedicated local and global volunteers in Tajikistan.
Since 2008, Johanna’s been on 28 Habitat Global Village trips, 21 as a Team Leader coordinating groups of volunteers.
“No matter how many Global Village trips you go on, you never forget your first!”
Johanna has never forgotten her first trip in Tajikistan. “What I remember the most was working alongside one of the locals, Zator. He spoke very little English and I spoke no Tajik. We spent every day working beside each other. He taught me how to tie rebar [a steel bar used for reinforcing concrete]. It was wonderful to realize that you could work alongside somebody even if there was a language barrier.” Habitat Global Village trips are about bringing communities together, to make a lasting impact for families in need of safe and decent homes.
What is the most rewarding part of a Global Village trip?
For Johanna, meeting the families you build with was the most rewarding part. “I’ve learned so much from every single family I’ve met. You build a connection with people you’ve never met before and you become such an intrinsic part of their lives by helping to build them a home. The families work hard alongside volunteers from Habitat Global Village teams to build homes that will provide a stronger foundation for a better life.“
To find out more about Habitat Global Village and how you can volunteer, please visit us at habitatglobalvillage.ca
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