Nailing up walls and sawing wood is typically thought to be a man’s job, but on March 15, one group of women strapped on the toolbelts at Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland’s Women Build volunteer day in Gaithersburg.
Nine women from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties volunteered their time and efforts to build houses at the nonprofit’s Maple Hill community, 9000 Emory Grove Road. The neighborhood includes 19 townhomes spread across 2.9 acres. Each townhome has three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms, and a one-car garage on the bottom level. The project began in March 2012 and is slated for completion in August.
Women Build, a national program run by Habitat for Humanity International, strives to include women in the construction process and make them more comfortable on a construction site, according to Melissa McFarland, a development assistant at Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland.
“Having [women] on the construction site is empowering for them, and it’s having them do something they typically wouldn’t do,” McFarland said.
From 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the women helped build the interior frame and raise walls on the inside of a set of homes.
“The women were really excited about the work they accomplished,” McFarland said. “There was really a sense of pride.”
The event is the first of four in the program that will be held over the next few months.
Throughout the process, women will be working to raise $20,000 to partially sponsor one of the townhomes. Events such as auctions, wine tastings and restaurant fundraisers might eventually be scheduled in the effort, McFarland said.