Habitat makes a healthier home

JAMES IRELAND
Last updated 08:28 29/01/2013
Ashwani Sharma and family
FIXER UPPER: Ashwani Sharma and his children Anita, 7, and Raameshwar, 10, can now live in a warm, safe home after work done by Habitat for Humanity.

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It would be hard to call Ashwani Sharma lazy when he flips through his folder of qualifications.

He grew up in India where he became an electrician, got a bachelor of arts in languages and studied law for three years.

After moving to New Zealand in 1988 he decided to try something new and became a driving instructor and then a Hindi and Punjabi interpreter for the Labour Department and the Waitemata District Health Board.

"About 13 years ago I suffered multiple health problems. I continued to work full time until two years ago when they got worse," he says.

"I have only been able to work part time - although being the driver for four kids and my wife can seem like a fulltime job."

Their Te Atatu house became run down and Mr Sharma's social worker put him in touch with Habitat for Humanity who began work on it in November.

They replaced the roof, installed under-floor insulation, put in a new bathroom, replaced an unsafe fireplace and repainted the interior.

The charity's Auckland co-ordinator Paul Look says they have another week of work to do put in a new kitchen and finish off the painting.

"We talk to people about their circumstances and we look at if there is a need," he says.

"It could be for reasons of age, health or finance.

"We marry up needs and wants and we set up what needs to happen. We had a team of 18 come in here to work on this house.

"I think it's going to make a huge difference to their lives."

The works were done under the Brush with Kindness programme which is aimed at helping people who own their homes with the preservation of it.

Under this scheme the home owner pays for the materials and the sub-contractors through a repayment scheme with Habitat for Humanity.

Mr Sharma would like to thank all the people who helped him turn his home into a safe and healthy place where he can raise his family.

Phone 271 3357 if you want to volunteer with the programme or need work done on your home.

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- Western Leader

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