Student Creates Device that Could Knock €400 off Electricity Bill

Student Creates Device that Could Knock €400 off Electricity Bill-image

Sunday, 7 December 2008

An NUI Galway student could expect to save over €400 a year thanks to a home-made device he invented which measures domestic power use. Gerard Gallagher, a student of the new programme in Science and Technology Studies, was awarded the Project Prize for his idea entitled 'Domestic Energy Monitoring'. Using off-the-shelf components, he created a device which revealed a considerable wastage of power, particularly overnight. Originally from Easky, Co. Sligo, Gerard says the idea of the domestic energy monitor arose from the need to be able to monitor real-time energy usage in the home. He wanted to examine the hypothesis that, in doing so, energy wastage can be identified and eradicated. According to Gerard, "A facility is already in place in the form of the ESB meter, but this only measures cumulative rather than real-time usage. The prototype measures current usage, and with the aid of a microprocessor, formats and displays results on an LCD display, and also outputs results to a serial port for PC or network connection. This allows a monitoring station to log and save both real-time and historical usage which can be further processed or examined as required". He added: "If I can pinpoint the potential energy saving it could contribute to a significant decrease in domestic carbon emissions, not to mention ESB bills. My current estimate for savings is €409 for the household per annum". Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, the Science and Technology Studies programme co-ordinator, Dr Niamh Nolan, complemented Gerard on the originality and relevance of his project: "The judges were exceptionally impressed with the overall standard of the projects and noted that this bodes well for the success of the programme and its future graduates". The modular programme in Science and Technology is a new programme targeted at working adults and delivered under the auspices of the Atlantic University Alliance; a collaboration between NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Cork. The blended delivery of the programme enables participants to adjust study times to suit their lifestyle and to spread the programme out over a suitable time frame. Participants engage with the programme through custom written course books, online and at Saturday tutorials. The project module provides participants with an opportunity to actively apply their learning and skills to a particular work or life scenario under the supervision of a programme tutor. The prize was generously donated by ULearning Skillnet, a network of industry representatives and academics dedicated to providing flexible programmes of benefit to enterprise and enterprising individuals. For more information on the programme please visit www.modularbsc.ie -ends-

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New Book on Ireland and Climate Change

New Book on Ireland and Climate Change -image

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Climate change will transform Ireland sooner than we think according to a new book by NUI Galway's Dr Kieran Hickey. Aimed at the everyday reader, Five Minutes to Midnight? Ireland and Climate Change sets out the causes of climate change and its implications for Ireland. According to the author "this book is meant to be wake-up call for the average Irish person and for our politicians". The book describes some disturbing scenarios for Ireland by the end of this century and beyond, depending on how we respond to climate change. Based on the careful projection of current trends, and up-to-date climatological research, Ireland's future might well contain scorching summers, parched lawns, water rationing, escalating rates of skin cancer, mosquitoes and great white sharks off in our seas. Winters will be muggy and wet, with flooded streets and sodden lawns due to some 15% more rainfall. Ireland will see fewer, but bigger and more deadly storms. With a changing climate, many native plants and animals will be lost. Salmon will disappear from our rivers, cod from our seas and potatoes from our fields. Exotic new crops and species will replace them. Rising sea-levels will lead to beleaguered and uninsurable seaside villages. City centres, perhaps even parts of Dublin, may have to be abandoned. Beaches, farms and golf links will be swept away as large swathes of the coastline taken over by rising seas. According to Dr Hickey: "The reference to five minutes to midnight means that its crunch time for climate change in Ireland. By 2080, within our children's lifetimes, Ireland will be vastly changed. Our forty shades of green will have given way to forty shades of yellow. Combating climate change is a global issue, but we cannot throw our hands in the air and wait for the US or China to take steps to save the day. Like charity, combating climate change begins at home". Dr Hickey added: "The first step is for each and every citizen to make it their responsibility to understand what is happening to the climate and to our country. We must comprehend the legacy we are leaving for our children and grandchildren and give ourselves a harsh wake-up call. As citizens, we can then shape political will and manage our country's future. We can influence events. But if we are to do so we must act decisively, and act now". The book has praise for some of the ways in which Irish industry has adapted to the carbon economy, which is likely to be worth 500 billion dollars annually by 2050, and will create tens of thousands of new Irish jobs. The book also examines 'doomsday scenarios' which include runaway global warming, runaway sea-level rise, and the 'turning off' of the Gulf Stream. Dr Kieran Hickey is a lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway. His book Five Minutes to Midnight? Ireland and Climate Change is available in most book shops and is published by White Row Press, Belfast. For further information, visit www.whiterowpress.com -ends-

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NUI Galway Commemorates 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human R

NUI Galway Commemorates 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human R-image

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Wednesday, 10 December, with a series of events on campus. Film screenings, a public lecture, a photography exhibition and a concert, will mark the signing in 1948 of one of the most prominent and enduring foundational documents of international human rights law. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains the most important document of modern international human rights law", said Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. "Although it is now 60 years old, it remains fresh and inspiring, and speaks to the world as if it was written yesterday. It stands as a monument to the common values of people around the world, and to their commitment to equality, freedom, justice and peace". To begin the day of celebration, the Irish Centre for Human Rights will screen a film created by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The film, Stories on Human Rights by Filmmakers, Artists and Writers, consists of 20 short movies from filmmakers around the world poignantly reflecting the many themes contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this, the final seminar in a lecture series examining the European Union as a force for the promotion of human rights, will feature Dr. Georges Christou from the University of Warwick. The focus of Dr Christou's research to date has been on the EU as a conflict resolution mechanism, and in the lecture he will address this broad issue in the specific context of the Cyprus conflict. His seminar is entitled 'The European Union and the Cyprus Conflict: Towards Open Frontiers?'. In the evening, a photography exhibition created by the first cohort of students undertaking NUI Galway's new BA Connect with Human Rights will officially open. The exhibition will contain images taken by the class which reflect the meaning and place of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their own lives and in the lives of people around the world today. To conclude the day of celebration and commemoration, the Irish Centre for Human Rights will hold a live music session with Philip Fogarty and his band playing an eclectic mix of rock, pop, dance, alternative, classical and traditional music. The Irish Centre for Human Rights is one of the world's premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy, which has enabled the institution to attract high quality students to its acclaimed Masters programmes and to build a thriving community of doctoral researchers and undergraduate students. Admission to all events on 10 December is free of charge. For a full programme of events click here, call Tara Smith on 091 493798, or email T.Smith2@nuigalway.ie -ends-

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January 2007

Top US Human Rights Lawyer to address issue of Capital Punishment

Top US Human Rights Lawyer to address issue of Capital Punishment-image

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

30 January 2007 The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is pleased to announce a seminar by leading human rights lawyer Bryan A. Stevenson on Tuesday, 6 February, at 1.00pm at the centre in Earls' Island. Mr Stevenson, who represents disadvantaged people and death row prisoners in America, is in Ireland as part of a week-long nationwide tour in conjunction with Amnesty International. Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Professor William Schabas welcomed Mr Stevenson to Galway, describing him as "one of the most iconic figures in the US campaign against capital punishment." "Bryan Stevenson is one of the pre-eminent lawyers in the United States whose work is devoted to challenging the death penalty," said Prof. Schabas. "His work takes on heroic proportions, as he battles to defend those subject to execution at trial and in post-conviction proceedings. His visit to the Irish Centre for Human Rights gives us an occasion to reaffirm our own, and Ireland s, opposition to capital punishment. He is also a fabulous role model for young human rights activists contemplating careers in the field. For some people, meeting Bryan Stevenson and hearing him speak will transform their lives." Prof. Schabas will speak alongside Mr Stevenson at a public session in the Galway City Library, St Augustine Street, later on Tuesday evening. A Professor of Law at New York University and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, Mr Stevenson and his staff have been successful in overturning dozens of capital murder cases and death sentences where disadvantaged people have been unconstitutionally convicted or sentenced. He has been recognised as one of the top public interest lawyers in the US and his efforts to confront bias against the poor and people of colour in the criminal justice system have earned him dozens of awards. A spokesperson for Amnesty International, which campaigns for an end to executions and the abolition of the death penalty everywhere, said; "The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment - it violates the right to life. It is irrevocable, can be inflicted on the innocent and has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments. Progress has been dramatic. In 1977, only 16 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Today the figure stands at 88." Mr Stevenson will visit Limerick, Galway, Cork and Dublin as part of the Amnesty International tour. -ENDS- For further information please contact Jacqueline Hogge, Press Office, NUI GalwayTel: 00353 91493361

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New Sean-nós Singer-in-Residence at Centre for Irish Studies

New Sean-nós Singer-in-Residence at Centre for Irish Studies-image

Monday, 29 January 2007

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Micheál Ó Cuaig to the position of Sean-Nós Singer in Residence for the current year. A native of Cill Chiaráin, Micheál qualified as a primary school teacher in 1970 and was principal of Scoil Naomh Ciarán for sixteen years before his retirement last year. Throughout his teaching career, he organised classes and workshops in sean-nós singing for his pupils. Having fallen under the spell of Joe Heaney at a young age, he has organised an annual festival, Féile Joe Éinniú, which celebrates Heaney's legacy, for the past fifteen years. In order to further commemorate Heaney's contribution to Irish music, Micheál recently presented a copy of the Joe Heaney Archive held at Washington University, Seattle to NUI Galway and that material is now located at Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim in Carna. Micheál Ó Cuaig is also the author of two highly regarded collections of poetry in Irish Uchtóga (1985) and Clocha Reatha (1986) which critics have applauded for their emotional delicacy and scrupulous use of language. He is married to Mairéad Ní Chonghaile and they have seven children. During the period of his residency, Micheál will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and other venues throughout Connemara and the Aran Islands. He will also record his own work and that of other singers. The workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies will commence at 7.00pm on Tuesday 13 February . This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. For further details, contact Samantha Williams: Tel: 091 49 2051; email: samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie ENDS

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New Guide on General Practice Care for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

New Guide on General Practice Care for Asylum Seekers and Refugees-image

Monday, 29 January 2007

Doctors in Galway are to benefit from a new guide on treating asylum seekers and refugees compiled by the HSE, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. The forty-five page 'Information Pack for GPs in Galway on General Practice Care for Asylum Seekers and Refugees', offers information on the broad range of health needs of asylum seekers and refugees, and a comprehensive list of local support organizations and services. The document also provides relevant information on issues such as women's health, male circumcision, torture, communicable disease assessment and immunisation. GPs will also have a template and guide for completing medico-legal reports used in the asylum determination process in supporting a history of physical or mental abuse or torture. If it proves successful, the guide may be adapted for use nationally. The guide was launched by Priya Prendergast, Local Health Manager HSE West, at a recent conference in Galway, entitled 'Participation of Ethnic Minority Communities in Primary Care Service Design, Planning and Delivery'. Its author, Dr Hans-Olaf Pieper is a Fellow in Asylum Seeker and Refugee Healthcare, a position funded by HSE Western Area Primary Care Department in partnership with the Department of General Practice, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. Speaking at the launch Priya Prendergast said: "This document provides a wealth of useful information and templates for specialist services. It also provides contact details of support organisations and useful templates for specialist services. By providing brief, practical and useful information, GPs will find this a useful tool for caring for asylum seekers and refugees. We will be interested in finding out how Galway GPs find and use the guide". Dr. Pieper has worked extensively with asylum seekers and refugees as a General Practitioner. "GPs need more support in their care for asylum seekers and refugees who present a broad range of health needs requiring specific specialist skills and information," he said. "There is support out there for doctors in the form of translation agencies and support organisations but often we are not aware. This new guide will bring this information to the doctors' fingertips". It is envisaged to update the guide regularly and, if it proves to be successful, to encourage adapting the guide to local needs in other parts of the country with a view of disseminating it nationally as an example of good practice. It is planned to evaluate the use of the guide at a later stage of 2007. Further information can be obtained from Dr Hans-Olaf Pieper on ho.pieper@nuigalway.ie ENDS

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Micheál Ó Cuaig ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis ag Ollscoil na hÉirea

Micheál Ó Cuaig ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis ag Ollscoil na hÉirea-image

Monday, 29 January 2007

Tá sé fógartha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, go bhfuil Micheál Ó Cuaig, as Aill de Brún i leathpharóiste Chill Chiaráin, ceaptha mar Amhránaí Sean-Nóis Cónaitheach as seo go ceann bliana. Tá cuid mhór dá shaol caite ag Micheál le múinteoireacht ó bhain sé céim amach i gColáiste Phádraig, Droim Conrach i 1970. Bhí sé ina Phríomh-oide ar Scoil Naomh Ciarán ar feadh 16 bliain nó gur éirigh sé as an múinteoireacht anuraidh. Tá cáil air chomh maith mar fhile agus go leor duaiseanna Oireachtais bronnta air. D'fhoilsigh sé dhá chnuasach filíochta Uchtóga (1985) agus Clocha Reatha (1985) atá molta go hard ag léirmheastóirí as an meascán de mhothú leochaileach agus de mháistreacht teangan atá iontu. Is é Joe Éinniú ba mhó a spreag a shuim sa sean-nós agus tá Féile Chomórtha Joe Éinniú a reachtáil aige ó cuireadh ar bun í i 1985. Cúpla bliain ó shin fuair sé cóip de bhailiúchán Joe Éinniú in Ollscoil Washington, Seattle agus tá an bailiúchán sin lonnaithe anois in Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim i gCarna. Bhí sean-nós á theagasc agus á chur chun cinn aige sna scoileanna tráth nach raibh an oiread ranganna ar fáil is atá anois. Chomh maith leis sin tá coirmeacha ceoil agus ceardlanna amhránaíochta eagraithe aige in Éirinn agus in Albain. Uair sa bhliain, tugann sé ceoltóirí ar ardchaighdeán chuig bunscoileanna Iorras Aithnigh. Tá sé pósta le Mairéad Ní Chonghaile is tá seachtar clainne orthu. Chomh maith le taifeadadh a dhéanamh ar a stór féin amhrán agus saothair a bhailiú ó amhránaithe eile, beidh ceardlanna agus seisiúin amhránaíochta á reachtáil ag Micheál san Ollscoil féin agus in áiteanna éagsúla ar fud Chonamara as seo go ceann bliana. Beidh an tsraith cheardlann in Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh ag tosnú ag 7.00in Dé Máirt 13 Feabhra. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus An Chomhairle Ealaíon i bpáirt le hIonad an Léinn Éireannaigh atá ag maoiniú an togra seo. Tuilleadh eolais: Samantha Williams, Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh. Guthán: 091 49 2051. Ríomhphost: samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie Críoch

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Ethnic Minorities and Healthcare Subject of National Conference

Ethnic Minorities and Healthcare Subject of National Conference-image

Friday, 26 January 2007

26 January 2007: A national conference focusing on the provision of healthcare to ethnic minorities in Ireland takes place today in the Galway Bay Hotel, Galway. The inter-agency conference, entitled 'Participation of Ethnic Minorities in the Design, Planning and Delivery of Primary Care Services,' is being organised by the Primary Care Department, HSE West in partnership with the Department of General Practice, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. Tríona Nic Giolla Choille and Kelly Jipé, Galway Refugee Support Group, says, "There is a need to address the social factors impacting on the health of asylum seekers and refugees. These include the system of Direct Provision, whereby people seeking asylum are accommodated for long periods in hostels, the prohibition on the right to work with its direct consequences on people's health and well being as well as the consequences in terms of poverty and social exclusion." The conference will investigate the participation of ethnic minorities in the development of appropriate primary care services. It highlights that representatives from ethnic minority communities should have a 'voice' in the shaping of primary care because they are 'experts' of their own experiences. They can bring information and insights to those responsible for designing and delivery healthcare services and policies which can inform the organisation and delivery of services. This will help reduce health inequalities between ethnic minority groups and the indigenous Irish population because culturally appropriate health services can be developed. The conference proceedings will contribute to the development of a new National Intercultural Health Strategy, which will be the subject of the keynote presentation by Alice O'Flynn, National Care Group Manager for Social Inclusion at the HSE. Mr. Frank Murphy, Local Health Manager, Roscommon, HSE West when launching the conference congratulated the Steering Committee from the HSE, University and Galway Refugee Support Group for organising the conference. He said that it is a forum to address the issues in relation to Health Services for Ethnic Minorities. Mr. Murphy stated that participation and involvement of ethnic minorities in the design, planning and delivery of services is the only way forward if services are to be culturally appropriate and sensitive to the needs of service users. Other highlights of the conference include a workshop on new research into language barriers in primary care, from the Department of General Practice at NUI Galway, which found significant discrepancies in perception between doctors and patients. NUI Galway's Anne MacFarlane led the research which was carried out among Serb-Croat and Russian speaking refugee and asylum seeking patients and GPs in Galway city According to Anne MacFarlane "The cornerstone of good medicine is good communication. However, our research shows that while GPs feel that communication problems with refugees and asylum seekers have settled down over time – for asylum seekers and refugees - speaking to and understanding their doctors is a major difficulty. According to the results, with no formal interpretation services available, the patients relied mainly on interpretation by friends and family including children. Patients also had to rely on gestures and miming or the use of dictionaries and phrase books. They find that these are inadequate solutions, often leaving them confused or ill-informed on leaving the surgery." Dr. Anne MacFarlane continued, "Refugees and asylum seekers have complex health needs that may relate to the aftermath of torture, sexual violence and mental health issues. They should not have to rely on these informal methods because they do not feel that communication in their consultations is successful. It is hard to for them to trust advice and treatment from their GPs. These are some of the healthcare issues which this important conference will address and move towards resolving." The conference is attended by policy makers, service planners, primary care professional organisations, service providers, academic and community researchers, community development workers and ethnic minority community representatives. -ends-

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US Supreme Court Judge to address NUI Galway Law Society

US Supreme Court Judge to address NUI Galway Law Society-image

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

NUI Galway is pleased to announce a visit by US Supreme Court Judge Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the University on Wednesday 31st January 2007. Justice Ginsburg will meet with NUI Galway President Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh before addressing the University's Law Society in a special session, An Evening with Justice Ginsburg, at the O'Flaherty Theatre at 8.00pm. Justice Ginsburg's visit continues the strong relationship the Law Society at NUI Galway has developed with the judiciary of the most powerful court in the United States. Welcoming her to the University, Donncha O'Connell, Dean of Law says: "It is a tremendous credit to our students that they succeeded in securing a visit from a US judge of such eminence as Justice Ginsburg. The Faculty of Law is honoured by her visit to NUI Galway and we look forward with great interest and enthusiasm to learning from her unique insights as a distinguished member of, arguably, the most important court in the world." The event will be hosted by Today FM broadcaster and practicing barrister Ted Harding, who will interview Justice Ginsburg. The audience will then be invited to take part in a Question and Answer session with the Supreme Court judge. The Brooklyn-born judge became only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court when nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Her refusal during confirmation hearings to answer questions regarding her personal views on issues such as abortion, gay rights or hypothetical situations as a Supreme Court Justice became known as the Ginsburg Precedent. Among her most notable judgements is her dissenting opinion in the infamous Bush v Gore case which effectively decided the 2000 US Presidential election. She also challenged the Bush administration in the Guantanamo detainee case, Hamdi v Rumsfeld, by voting against the majority when the court allowed the President to declare an American citizen an enemy combatant. An Evening with Justice Ginsburg is open to the public and those wishing to secure tickets should contact the NUI Galway Societies Box Office on 091 492852. -ends- For further information contact: Jacqueline Hogge, NUI Galway Press Office Email: jacqueline.hogge@nuigalway.ie Tel: 00353 91 493361

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NUI Galway Students to Build Homes in Ghana

NUI Galway Students to Build Homes in Ghana-image

Monday, 22 January 2007

22 January 2007: Twenty-one NUI Galway student volunteers have been selected to travel to Ghana in May to help local people build their own homes. The students will spend two weeks in the western African country working and living on the construction site with the homeowners' families. On Thursday, at NUI Galway, Mayor of Galway Niall Ó Brolcháin will announce the names of the chosen volunteers and formally launch the fund-raising efforts to finance the trip. The trip is being organised by the NUI Galway Chaplaincy, part of the University's Student Services, in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity Ghana, which has already built over 4,000 homes in Ghana. According to Habitat for Humanity Ghana, despite a high per capita output, the majority of Ghanaians live in overcrowded rooms with the attendant health problems. Response to the project from the University community has been huge with well over 250 people attending a preliminary information evening and over 110 people applying for places on the team. According to one of the team leaders, Sr. Avril O'Regan from NUI Galway's chaplaincy; "The group of volunteers is comprised of enthusiastic students who, having been afforded the opportunities of a university education in Ireland, wish to give something back to those less well off. This is a unique opportunity to become active partners with people of another culture and help build homes and hope." Sister Avril continued, "Enthusiasm and volunteers are assets we have in abundance for this exciting and challenging project but we require material and financial support. Sending a team abroad entails significant cost which the team must fund entirely. Money raised goes to cover personal costs e.g. travel, insurance, food and water, as well as project costs including a substantial contribution towards the construction of the houses. In total the team seeks to raise in excess of €60,000." The NUI Galway group comprises 24 people, including three team leaders. The 21 students chosen for the team are drawn from a variety of Faculties and counties. The team leaders are Sr. Avril O'Regan (Dean of Residence/Chaplain NUI Galway), Mr Peter Mannion (Students' Union Education Officer NUI Galway) and Fr. Gabriel Kinahan (Franciscan, The Abbey). Parties interested in supporting this work may make a donation by sending it to Habitat for Humanity, c/o Sr. Avril O'Regan, Dean of Residence, NUI Galway. All monies received will go directly to this project. Further information can be obtained from Sr. Avril O'Regan on 091 492168 (avril.oregan@nuigalway.ie), from Peter Mannion on 091 493707 (peter.mannion@nuigalway.ie) or by visiting www.habitatireland.ie. - ends – Notes to Editors: How Habitat for Humanity (HFH) works: HFH builds and renovates simple, decent homes with the help of homeowner families, through volunteer labour and donations of money and materials. HFH works to make homes available to all people regardless of race, faith, gender or age. HFH build houses throughout the world, including Ireland, where the first four homes were built in Ballymun in 2005. In Ghana they build more than 400 houses a year and recently celebrated the dedication of their 4000th house. HFH homes are sold to low-income families at no profit and are financed through affordable long-term loans. Mortgage length varies between 7 – 30 years. All mortgage payments, combined with donations, are used to build more homes around the world through a revolving fund. In addition, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labour building their own homes and the homes of others. Among other benefits, this reduces the cost of the homes, increases the pride of home ownership and builds communities.

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