Award nomination for woman who has helped family move from mud hut to new home

Alice-Lisle Denny with the Constanzia family and their new home in Tanzania.
Alice-Lisle Denny with the Constanzia family and their new home in Tanzania.

A Bedford woman who has helped an African family build a house has been nominated for an award.

Alice Lisle-Denny spent months fundraising before travelling to Tanzania where she has seen a project through to completion to help a family who had been living in a basic hut.

Alice Lisle-Denny.

Alice Lisle-Denny.

Alice met the family in 2010 while on another volunteering scheme and discovered their living conditions at their home near Arusha left much to be desired.

She said; “Their house consisted of three small rooms, a bedroom with one single bed in it, a living room with a broken and uncomfortable sofa and a small kitchen area.

“So I decided that I would like to make a difference to their lives and build them a new house, equipped with an outside toilet.

“I also wanted to help the family to provide a way to have a constant income by constructing a chicken pen or vegetable garden so that the family can become self sustainable for the future.”

Alice ran her project through the charity The House That Zac Built, founded by Zac Lanza, and just before Christmas the finishing touches were being made following months of hard work.

Now the family - consisting of Mama Costanzia and Dada (Father) Simon, and their three daughters Diana, Maria, Cecilia and one brother called Onesmo - are moving into a brand new home.

The building project had included digging foundations, the building constructed, right through to finishing touches, including an outside toilet.

The project was not without its problems, however.

Alice said: “There were huge delays to the project in the sixth week as the builder responsible for making the doors decided that I owed him an additional £200 on top of the contract agreed and refused to deliver the doors!

“I decided it was best to cut ties with the builder and pay for new doors which could be made closer to where I lived in Moshono. This helped to cut down on transportation costs.

“After a week of having run out of funds totally and all the problems with the builder, I finally had some great news from a volunteer called Ashley Hughes, who told me that she had managed to raise an amazing £560!”

Together with other donations, the project could continue to completion.

Alice said: “The money was put towards building a retaining stone wall, outside kitchen coupled with a goat pen, extra drainage to direct the water around the new kitchen area and an armchair and a three piece sofa.

“The inside of the house was completed so all that was left to do was to move the family and settle them into their new house.

“With all the extra donations I received in the last few weeks, I was able to finish the enormous amount of extra work that had come to light over the project with some money left over. This will now be put towards buying three chickens for the family, supporting Mama C in a business when she decides how to become self sufficient, and the rest to support the children when they return back to school in January.”

She added: “I really wanted to buy a goat but unfortunately it meant that the family would have to feed another mouth, whereas chickens would be self sufficient and find food around the neighbourhood. In the end chickens seemed the most sustainable option, especially as they would provide eggs for the family to sell or eat.

“I want to say a massive thank you to Zac Lanza, founder of The House That Zac Built, for helping me to set up the project, giving me the knowledge I needed to run a construction site in Tanzania and finding me a builder, funding and translator, Adam, all of which would have taken me a long time to do and delayed the start of the project without this help.

“Thank you to everyone who donated, supported and helped my cause to build a house for Mama Costanzia in Tanzania.”

To read more about the project visit