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Habitat for Humanity Launches indiaBUILDS, An Ambitious Initiative To Properly House 250,000 Of India’s Poor * * * * Campaign Challenges Individuals, Businesses And Others To Participate In US$100 Million Drive To Tackle Poverty Housing In India

October 3, 2005

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MUMBAI, 3rd October 2005: Habitat for Humanity India yesterday unveiled indiaBUILDS, an ambitious five-year initiative to create decent homes for the poor in India and to inspire others to take up the challenge of eliminating poverty housing in the world’s second most populous country.

The India-wide campaign aims to provide better homes for 250,000 poor people by 2010. It will involve mobilizing the enthusiasm, resources and talents of one million volunteers in India and from around the world, and require some US$100 million (about Rs. 800 million) in cash and kind.

Habitat for Humanity India is part of Habitat for Humanity, an international, not-for-profit, Christian housing organization that works with people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.

indiaBUILDS was formally launched at the JW Marriott hotel in Mumbai, India, in front of a 300-strong audience. The event was attended by India’s Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Kapil Sibal, along with Mr. Gul Kriplani, president of the Rotary Club of Bombay, and other prominent personalities from Indian-based business corporations.

The launch date is Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti, the public holiday honouring the birth of India’s most famous advocate for the poor.

“With indiaBUILDS, we plan to build better homes for – and in partnership with – 250,000 poor people by applying the Gandhian principles of volunteerism and community development,” said Mr. Steve Weir, Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific vice president. “From our three decades of working with communities around the world, we know that a simple, safe and secure home can break the cycle of poverty and transform lives.”

“Proper homes create a virtuous circle of better health, better education, better security, better dignity and better opportunities to earn a living.”

“indiaBUILDS will do more than just improve the lives of 250,000 of individuals. We hope to champion innovative approaches and act as a catalyst to provide a sustained assault on the scourge of poverty housing in one of the world’s most populous nations,” Weir said, adding, “We invite all those who love India, whether individuals, corporations or other groups, to participate in indiaBUILDS.”

More than 60 per cent of India’s estimated 180 million dwellings are temporary or in a dilapidated condition. India needs some 2.5 million new homes each year, just to keep pace with its growing population. The current shortfall is more than 41 million homes.

During the launch event, one of Habitat for Humanity’s major corporate backers in India was recognized. Ms. Rajashreeji Birla, director of the Aditya Birla Group, one of India’s top industrial groups, was presented with an award for its work in supporting existing Habitat for Humanity programs in India.

The evening featured a performance by famed jazz musician Louis Banks and his band. In addition, there was an auction of paintings and sculptures by artists Aniket Khupse, Arzan Khambata, Madhavi Gangan, Medha Prabhakar, Pankaj Sonawane, Ramesh Thorat, Sushma Sabnis and Tanujaa Rane.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit non-denominational Christian housing organization seeking to eliminate poverty housing. Since being established in the USA in 1976, Habitat has worked in thousands of communities around the world. Habitat works with families in need to build simple, decent, affordable, secure homes. Habitat for Humanity has built, repaired and renovated 200,000 houses, impacting 1,000,000 people’s lives. In India since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has helped build over 11,000 homes, sheltering 60,000 people. It is working to help thousands of families in affected by last December’s deadly tsunami. For more information, please visit: http://www.habitatforhumanityindia.org or www.habitat.org/ap .

For further media enquires, please contact

Peter Witton on + 66 (0) 6 105 1767 or pwitton@habitat.org