At Home and Abroad, Cisco and Habitat for Humanity Build and Wire New Homes
July 24, 2001
By Claudia Church, News@Cisco
As a long-term partner of Habitat for Humanity International, a well-known organization dedicated to providing housing to those in need, the Cisco Foundation has been working hard to make a positive impact on the lives of people around the world. Through assembling teams to build and wire houses for the Internet, Cisco is helping bring hope to families around the globe by providing them with shelter and the advantage of Internet access. Recently, Cisco and Habitat for Humanity completed two builds; six town homes in Redwood City, California, and three town homes in Southwark, South East London, UK.
On June 20th, 2001, members of Cisco's Customer Advocacy and Management teams set out for Redwood City, California, to participate in the Peninsula Habitat for Humanity's "Raise the Roof 2001" Blitz Build. The goal was to complete construction of the first six, wired town homes of what will ultimately be a 35-unit site. With over 90 dedicated Cisco volunteers and an additional 350 non-Cisco volunteers, the mission was completed in only two weeks. The Cisco-sponsored town home was donated to the Bowab family, originally from Bolivia.
"We were exhausted by the end of the two weeks but it was well worth it when we handed over the keys to the Bowab family and saw how appreciative they were of the opportunity they had been given" said Rebecca Jacoby, a Cisco volunteer and member of the Steering Committee.
At the closing ceremony, Rosario Bowab said "I can't really explain what's in my heart but this changes my whole life."
In addition, the Cisco Systems Global Product Services (GPS) Leadership team had the privilege to bring hope to three families in need in Southwark, South East London. Cisco employees traveled to Southwark from Australia, Brazil, China, Europe and the U.S. to spend the day together constructing the homes--and each was filled with an enormous sense of pride.
"This may seem an unusual team building exercise but I cannot imagine a more rewarding experience from a more personal standpoint," said Mark Jones, Vice President of Global Product Services and a volunteer for Habitat for the past six years. Never before have so many people, from so many different countries, gathered in one location to build with Habitat for Humanity.
Cisco Systems operates under the philosophy that communities are driven by the dream of a better future. The company focuses its resources on education, basic needs and vocational training while promoting a culture of charitable giving. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity is a natural fit for Cisco -- together they provide families and communities with basic necessities so that they can improve their own lives.
The Redwood City, California and Southwark, South East London projects are part of a larger contribution of $1 million dollars each year for three years that Cisco has committed to Habitat for Humanity. In addition to funds, Cisco employees dedicate their time, labor and Internet expertise to the construction of homes in several locations around the world, including Africa, Great Britain, Ireland, Asia Pacific, New Zealand and the U.S. Cisco Interns will be gathering in July to build homes in Redwood City.
To date, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 90,000 homes worldwide, housing more than 450,000 people.
Claudia C. Church is a freelance journalist, speechwriter and entertainment writer. She is based out of New York City.