Niall Mellon Township Trust
The Irish Americans
Since 2002, the Niall Mellon Township Trust has constructed over 10,000 homes for impoverished communities in the townships of South Africa. The trust was founded by property developer, entrepreneur and humanitarian Niall Mellon, who was only 35 at the time. It offers training in construction skills year-round, providing employment opportunities for 2,000 South Africans, mostly from the townships in which houses are built.
The trust’s “Building Blitz” is an annual event where Irish volunteers build hundreds of houses in just one week. The Building Blitz 2008 participants surpassed their goal of 250 houses, erecting 253 homes for families who waited up to 25 years for a residence.
Over the past seven years, over 5,000 Irish volunteers have played a vital role in the NMTT’s Building Blitzes. Upon accepting a new house on her family’s behalf last November, one woman said, “Both my children have HIV. Now this house has given them a future . . . they cannot take the smile off their faces. We used to fear the rain because it made us wet and cold. Not anymore! Now I will have to go outside to see if it is raining. I hope the Irish will come and visit me next year.”
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