After immigrating to Canada from Ghana in 1992, Jacquie Botchway and her husband Kojo met and started a family. They struggled to make ends meet as they raised their four children Daniel, Edward, Edmund and Sarah, in an overcrowded rental unit in an unsafe neighbourhood.
These conditions had a significant impact on the family’s well-being. Kojo and Jacquie had to share a bedroom with their daughter, and the family dealt with the horror of witnessing or hearing about a person being killed in broad daylight in their apartment complex on at least two occasions. As Jackie explains, “Every time my children were not home from school on time I had to sit and wait and worry about whether they would come home. Children were being killed right in front of everybody! I had to find a way out…a better place to raise my kids.”
After Jackie saw an ad on TV, the family applied for Habitat homeownership. Jackie describes the moment they first learned that they had been selected to become Habitat homeowners: “It’s something I will never forget. It was the best Christmas gift you could ever ask for,” she remembers. “It was right after New Year’s, so it was like having a second Christmas!”
The Botchways have been happily living in their Habitat home in Brampton since May, 2016. “Sarah has her own room now. We’re just so happy to have our own space. There’s nobody being hurt. We have a peaceful place to live. We are here and we are home. Sometimes when I’m lying in bed, I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I thank everyone who helped out to bring us here.”
Families like the Botchways are why Roche Canada supports local charitable partners like Habitat for Humanity GTA. By volunteering their time for Habitat Build Days over the past three years, our employees have contributed to every home in the Torbram development project in Brampton. And we know our efforts have a direct impact on families and the community around us. A 2012 impact study, Building a Better City: The Social Impact of Habitat for Humanity Homes in Toronto, showed how affordable homeownership strengthens communities and opens doors for low-income youth:
- 76% of homeowners report an improvement in children’s school grades
- 81% report an improvement in children’s social lives
- 93% of respondents say they will remain in their Habitat home for a very long time or can’t imagine ever moving
“Volunteering is about giving back to the communities where we live and work. Coming together as an organization to build homes for families in need is truly rewarding and gratifying and it gives our employees a sense of pride and accomplishment,” says Neli Brum, a Corporate Relations Associate in our Pharmaceuticals Division who is responsible for our philanthropy and employee volunteering programs. “Over the past 3 years, I’ve had the privilege of attending Habitat for Humanity GTA home dedication ceremonies for houses we helped build. In November 2016, I personally presented a family with the key to their new home. Seeing families realize their dreams of owning a home is so humbling, and underlines how important volunteers are to building a community. And this is why our employees volunteer - to give these families a foundation upon which they can build their dreams, and where their children can grow in a community built on goodwill and compassion.”
Habitat for Humanity is one of more than a dozen local organizations we support by providing our employees the opportunity to give their time. Across the company, volunteerism has increased significantly over the past few years, as a result of feedback from our team about their desire to do more in the community. In addition to organized volunteer opportunities like Habitat for Humanity Build Days, employees in both our Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics Divisions are given a full day to volunteer with an organization that’s meaningful to them.
As a company and as individuals, we are committed to giving our time, skills and resources to support non-profit organizations that make meaningful contributions to society. We’re proud of the impact we make in our communities and even prouder of our team who continues to go above and beyond in giving their time, energy and passion to helping those in need.
April 28, 2017