Students schooled on damp housing
Schoolchildren are learning the importance of a warm, dry home thanks to a cardboard house building competition.
Organised by Anglican Life, the competition aims to raise awareness about the cold, damp and draughty housing conditions that exist in New Zealand.
The challenge was for students to construct a dwelling using only cardboard and tape.
A group of year 6 students from Good Shepherd School in Mt Eden took to it with gusto, working across three days to complete their twobedroom domicile.
A roaring fire in the lounge, a flat screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen grace the students’ card- board house but it shows a sadder side.
While most of the walls are lined with nice, thick newspaper ‘‘insulation’’, the bedrooms are bare and pain-
also ted with green mould.
‘‘We did that to show why houses need insulation and to show examples of some well-insulated rooms and some poorly, or uninsulated rooms,’’ Joshua Jeffery, 11, says.
The students say that before taking on the challenge they weren’t really aware about the poor living conditions endured by some Kiwi families.
Teacher Fran Taylor says the children learnt a lot across the curriculum while building the house.
‘‘They learnt about measuring and science, but also about social justice.
‘‘They found out about the cost of hospital beds and doctors’ fees brought about by recurring problems from damp homes.’’
Competition co-organiser Kate Day from Anglican Life says the church received about 30 entries from schools nationwide.
Ms Day says Anglican Life decided to hold the challenge to include young people in the discussion about a serious issue that affects many New Zealanders.
‘‘As a church we are concerned with issues of pov- erty, particularly ones that affect children. So we thought the issue of low standard housing is one way we could address conditions of poverty as a whole.’’
Around 375,000 Kiwi kids live in cold, damp rental homes that can make them sick. There are subsidies available for landlords to improve rental housing but not all landlords take them up and there are no minimum standards for rentals.
Photos of the cardboard houses will be sent to Housing Minister Phil Heatley to support a call for a ‘‘Warrant of Fitness’’ on housing.
The winning school will receive insulation installed for free and if it is already insulated the school can nominate another school.
The winner will be notified this month.
Builders: A group of year 6 students constructed a cardboard home that shows what can happen in uninsulated rooms.