The Desmond Tutu Community Build – No More Shacks!

You can help children like this

The challenge - to build 15 houses in just one week! Join us and help give South Africans living in urban poverty the opportunity for a better future.

Saturday 6th to Sunday 14th September 2008, Cape Town, South Africa

We are offering you the chance to come with us! We are looking for 15 teams of 12 people, to spend one-week building homes that will change the lives of 15 families forever. Will you join us on the Desmond Tutu Community Build for the experience of a lifetime?

Each volunteer team will work with the chosen homepartner family, who are currently living in a shack, to build their new home in just 5 days.

Habitat homeowners and their new home

Help families like the Yibe's who became homeowners on the 2007 build

All you need is the desire to make a difference and plenty of enthusiasm! No building skills are required. Working under the supervision of local builders you could find yourself block laying, mixing mortar, roofing, or painting. You won't be asked to do anything you feel uncomfortable doing and you will receive training each step of the way. Men and women equally welcome!

By sweating, laughing and working together with the new homeowners, their friends and neighbours, and other volunteers, you will accomplish this seemingly impossible task.

As the cement walls go up, other walls come crashing down – walls between language and gender, colour and culture. Most of all, you will have helped ensure that 20 families can face the Cape winter with the certainty that leaking roofs and cold winds driving through rickety shacks are a thing of the past.

South Africa


Thousands of people live in overcrowded conditions in shacks.

Nearly half the 45 million population live below the poverty line. And almost 10 million South Africans live in poverty housing – nearly 1 in 5 of the population. The housing backlog alone is estimated at 2.5 million houses. In addition to the enormous need for housing and services, rapid urbanisation and the effects of Apartheid have resulted in a fracturing of traditional structures, families and community.

Hailed as ‘the miracle nation’, South Africa made the peaceful transition from Apartheid to democratic government in the spirit of ‘unity in diversity’. Now, a new challenge is facing South Africa: the challenge to build a brighter future and end poverty housing.

volunteers help build

You and your friends can help! So get involved!

The Desmond Tutu Community Build is a great opportunity to put your desire to 'do something' into practical action that will make a real difference. As you demonstrate your care to a community in need, you will experience township life, and most of all you will help a family build their new home – changing their lives forever. There is one more thing...this may change your life as well!

Visit cost
Cost including donation - 1,074 per person plus flights. This includes 3 star accommodation (based on two twin rooms sharing one bathroom), insurance, local transport, meals as per itinerary, water, one cultural excursion, and donation (full details included in the downloadable brochure). Flights are 4-600 at present.


To find out more, please download the Desmond Tutu Community Build brochure (PDF 1.5MB).
Use our online form to register your interest. Go to our online form. You can also download Desmond Tutu build FAQs (PDF 170KB).

See photos from the Desmond Tutu build 2007.

In partnership with:
Habitat homeowner and her new home

To find out more for yourself, details of the itinerary, or support aranging for an entire team of friends or from your company, please email me here.
Photos of my last visit on 

The house we built, with Stembiso and Busi the new homeowners!