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Habitat for Humanity brings homes to rural poor in India

By Devika Rao
June 2010
Habitat for Humanity brings homes to rural poor in India

Habitat for Humanity Atlanta brought together an international crowd on May 3 at the Grand Hyatt to celebrate and introduce India Builds, a strategic initiative under Habitat for Humanity to build homes in rural India.

In celebration of the Jimmy Carter Weekend in Atlanta, Joseph Scaria, associate director of resource development for Habitat Asia-Pacific, and Kanan Koticha, wife of ASK Group Chairman Asit Koticha, came to speak about the work that India Builds has accomplished in India. 

“From 2005 to the present, we have built 10,000 homes,” said Scaria. “Under India Builds, our goal is to build 50,000 homes by 2012.” As of May 2010, the effort boasts 34,000 homes. With such renowned people as President Jimmy Carter and Indian actor John Abraham backing the initiative, the organization is introducing the campaign to the United States in an effort to raise funds and draw public attention.

One fundraising effort was “Coffee with An Idiot,” featuring one of the stars of the hit movie 3 Idiots. The event gathered 500 people and raised almost $25,000.

The goals of India Builds is simple: to create shelter, create inspiration, create capital, and create capacity. Its strategic initiative is to provide better housing for 50,000 low-income Indian families, and to inspire the involvement of individuals, officials, groups, organizations and the government, to champion innovative housing solutions for those Indians who lack a decent place to call home.

“What a difference housing makes just to education and health,” says Koticha, who reflected that a house built in India allowed a man to get his daughter married—a concern of any parent with a daughter. “This project will go on until the last shanty becomes a home.”  In fact, the group has taken it to the next level by making the woman of the house the homeowner. “It is amazing what a woman can do when she is given empowerment,” says Scaria.

Habitat for Humanity India began operations in 1983 in Khammam in Andhra Pradesh, and is now one of Habitat’s largest country programs. Since then, over 29,000 houses have been built, providing safe, decent and affordable shelter to around 145,000 less fortunate citizens of the country. Habitat for Humanity International is located in 85 countries and has given 1.5 million families “a simple and decent place to live from the elements,” said Christine Odom, senior director of Tithe/Global Engagement. 

For more information on Habitat for Humanity India and how to get involved, please visit www.habitatindia.in

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