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Twenty Students. Two Houses. Five Days * * * * Successful ‘Orientation Build’ For India’s Youth Build 2005

June 26, 2005

MAHAD, 26th June 2005: — About 20 Indian students worked alongside five architects, three masons, two homeowner families and several Habitat staff and volunteers to find out just how much they could accomplish in less than a week.

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Opening the way: local politicians at the house dedication in Mahad

The “Orientation Build”, which took place 28th May-to-2nd June in Mahad, some 140-km. south of Mumbai, is part of the preparations for Habitat for Humanity India’s forthcoming Youth Build 2005 campaign which kicks off towards the end of the year.

The Mahad build was something of a trial run to test out logistics and accommodation and determine how much 20 young people could do in five days.

For the Mukne and Pawar families, who received keys to their new Habitat houses at the end of the week, the answer is likely to be “quite a lot.”

During the build, volunteers and staff regularly had the chance to evaluate how the project was going, ask questions and make suggestions. When possible, their feedback was incorporated into the next day’s activities.

The student team was a youth group from St. Roque Catholic Church in Mumbai. They were joined by student architects, also from Mumbai, and a three-man team from Gujarat Ambuja Cement Company, India’s third largest cement maker.

Together, they built houses of 300 sq. ft and 370 sq. ft. for the two families. Both families, who make their living by fishing and brick-making, have small children and elderly parents living with them.

The houses have foundations of stone and cement. The walls are brick and the roofs are of tiles that hold up well in the local climate.

Habitat’s Youth Build 2005 program aims to build 500 houses in six locations spread all over India. To realize this dream, over 10,000 youth volunteers will be mobilized from various groups including schools, colleges, corporates, service organizations and clubs. Habitat India believes that local resources can support this initiative.

All 500 houses will be built in active partnership with local corporates, service clubs and other donors who believe in eliminating poverty housing in India as passionately as Habitat does.