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A house may have four walls and a roof, but a home is where the heart is


When I was young, I used the words house and home interchangeably. Now that I’m older, I have come to appreciate there is more depth to saying home than there is to house. House refers to the physical structure that we live in. However, home is where your heart is. A poll done by Habitat for Humanity showed that for many homes is where safety, security, stability, and comfort reigns. On Friday, May 29th, 2021, The Strathmore Institute for Family Studies and Ethics invited Dr. Juan Carlos Riofrio – Ecuadorian, jurist, and author to share his insight on “Right to Home” as part of the ongoing series “Philosophy of Love and Family”.

What does the law say about housing?

The Constitution of Kenya article 43(1)(b), states that “every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing and reasonable standards of sanitation’ According to Amnesty Kenya, housing is more than just four walls and a roof.  As a result, they advocate for non-discrimination in access to adequate housing, lobby the state to take progressive steps towards ensuring that everyone has a decent place to live, and campaign on ending forced evictions. According to Habitat for Humanity Kenya – county governments have been tasked with housing delivery though they lack adequate resources. This only sours the housing predicament where 68% of Kenyans lack land documentation or tenure security and many are cannot afford to buy or build their own.

 What can we do to make our houses our home?

Create an environment that is welcoming. This assures your son, daughter, and spouse knows that their home is a haven, a place where they can find refuge amid the noises of the world. Let your home be a place where you build memories and stronger bonds among members. Happy or sad moments we share bring us close because we have been through the journey together. Always let your family members know they matter; the value of their being is priceless because all our possessions may disappear leaving us with family only. Over and above that appreciate your present dwelling and work on making it the home you would desire instead of being burdened by wishing you had as fancy a house like your neighbor does.

Home is what you make your dwelling to be. With much or little, the simplicity of the aroma of a homemade meal, the echo of children playing outside, or the meow of a cat could be all it takes to welcome you home. Be grateful because to a street family the space under the highway bridge is home too – that is where they find refuge from the world and together find shelter on a rainy night.


This article was written by Annete Karanja.  


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