Local CALA employee embarks on the build of a lifetime

A local CALA Homes employee, who last year took part in the company’s CALA Build project, has now headed to Guatemala on the trip of a lifetime to continue his charitable work with non-governmental homebuilding organisation, Habitat for Humanity.

CALA Homes 13 March 2019

Andrew Aldridge, Land Director for CALA Homes Chiltern, which is based in Wooburn Green, took part in CALA Build last year, where he went to Cambodia to build homes for families in a deprived village.

Of last year’s trip, Andrew said: “The trip to Cambodia was a life-changing experience for me. I consider myself to be relatively well-travelled, but getting under the skin of the country and being exposed to the level of deprivation was truly humbling. In Cambodia, our team of 10 completed the construction of a home for a young family, and the father worked shoulder to shoulder with us to complete the construction of his home. Up until our build, the family occupied a tin shack on land they didn’t own, with no running water, electricity, sanitation and a dirt floor. That moment will never leave me.”

After his thought-provoking trip to Cambodia, Andrew was determined to continue helping in some way by putting his knowledge of house-building to good use. He trained as a team leader with Habitat for Humanity, and this year has acted as deputy team leader on his trip to Guatemala.

This trip took him to the city of Sololá. Many people who live in the slums of Sololá suffer from respiratory diseases as they currently cook and heat their home with open fires, with little or no ventilation. Andrew’s trip involved fitting smokeless stoves into homes to alleviate the issue, and in some cases repairing homes too, to make them more habitable.

Andrew added: “Everyone should have access to a safe and secure place to call home, and that not only includes a structurally sound home, but also one that is hygienic and healthy. I’ve now seen first-hand how the people of Sololá struggle with respiratory conditions because their houses do not have the correct ventilation, and so it was amazing to be in Guatemala as a deputy team leader to try and make these homes safer. The team I worked with were incredible, and we all felt like we’d achieved something great for the families we helped.

“The reason I am so enamoured with Habitat for Humanity is they enable me to make a real difference directly to the people who so desperately need it, and to put the skills and knowledge of my industry to really important use. I’m really looking forward to continuing working with them, and will hopefully be heading out on another trip later this year as a team leader.”

Andrew has been busy fundraising ahead of his trip and has raised over £3,000, exceeding his original target of £1,950. The funds raised went towards helping the work of Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala as well as crisis zones across the world, in areas where they are unable to send in volunteers but can assist with other types of aid.

Stuart Wallace, Managing Director at CALA Homes (Chiltern), said: “Andrew is a real asset to CALA Homes, and his passion for his job and his charity work is admirable. The CALA Build and Habitat for Humanity projects are closely aligned to CALA’s company values, and we’re delighted that Andrew has now trained as a team leader and will continue to work with the charity.”

More than 22 million people have secured new or improved housing through Habitat for Humanity since the organisation was founded in 1976, with more than 8.7 million people served in the last year alone.


For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit www.habitatforhumanity.org.uk.

For more information on CALA Homes (Chiltern), visit https://www.cala.co.uk/homes-for-sale/chiltern.