A safe home and brighter hopes for the future A family in need has a roof over their heads and a safe place to sleep, thanks to Industrial Chemicals and Pulp and Performance Chemicals in Colombia. In 1997 a group of young people began working towards a dream of overcoming poverty, starting with a drive to build homes for poor families living in unacceptable conditions. Today, TECHO has expanded into 19 countries across Latin America and also has offices in the United States and United Kingdom. Its aim is for a fair and poverty-free society where everyone can develop their skills and exercise their rights. When volunteers from Industrial Chemicals and Pulp and Performance Chemicals at the Santiago de Cali site in Colombia learned about the cause, they knew they wanted to help. “We were motivated by the need to help our community and especially wanted to help a poor family build decent housing to live in,” explained project coordinator Claudia Estella. ‘A Roof for My Country’ saw 19 volunteers work over two days at a site in Yumbo, close to AkzoNobel’s offices. Emergency accommodation was constructed and painted, and an educational library was also developed to promote social development, with a focus on physical fitness. The final phase of the project will provide support for both children and adults to develop their mental and motor skills, helping them learn through crafts and games and teaching skills such as money management. “The most rewarding part was the integration of AkzoNobel colleagues in a common cause – building a house for a poor family. We forgot our positions, our functions and any differences to concentrate on helping this family have a decent home,” said Claudia.