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Providing secure shelter for older people in Sudan

16 Feb 2013

An example of a shelter we have built in SudanHelpAge International in Sudan is providing safety and security to older people with a new, more sustainable and permanent shelters.

To ensure older people are protected from rain, fire and the cold, we have constructed 42 "soil stabilise block" shelters for older people and their families in villages of the Habilla and Mornie areas in West Darfur. These older people had previously been refugees.

After this successful pilot, we intend to continue this work supporting older people affected by conflict with more permanent and sustainable intervention.

Maryam is 70 and is one of the older women who is now living in one of these shelters in Mornie. She is among the thousands of the people who were displaced from Mandanga during the 2003 Darfur conflict. She lives with and cares for her daughter, who is living with mental disabilities.

While handing over the new house to Maryam, she told us that during the conflict in 2003 she lost all her belongings and property. To make a living she is totally dependent on very basic farming activities. Her community also has to support her by giving her food.

"Now we feel safe and secure"

While we were at her house, she was very pleased with her shelter, along with the age-friendly kit we gave her. She said she was very grateful for this assistance and HelpAge's support her final words were:

"Before we used to live in house made from local materials, which can be burnt and damaged at any time. Now we feel safe, secure and protected. Inshallah, my daughter and I will be protected for a long time, thank you."

The idea of permanent shelters for older people has been very much appreciated by all parties involved, including members of the community, the Humanitarian Aid Commission and the Ministry of Social Welfare.

We also provided UN HABITAT with a list of 32 extra older people that were included in their work to provide sustainable and permanent shelters in Dorti camp in Geniena, West Darfur.

Read more about our work in Sudan.

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Rehanna Zawar
Country: Sudan

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.