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Habitat for Humanity’s Ambitious indiaBUILDS Campaign To Host 23rd Annual JCWP As First Signature Event

Former US President Jimmy Carter to lead volunteers from around the world in week-long Jimmy Carter Work Project build in Maharashtra


MUMBAI, 24th May 2006: The international annual Jimmy Carter Work Project is to be held in India in October as the first signature event for Habitat for Humanity India’s indiaBUILDS campaign.

The week-long event involving the building of 100 homes in a village at Lonavala, Maharashtra, will be a key event in the wider five-year indiaBUILDS campaign to highlight the dire need for affordable housing in this country of 1.1 billion people, nearly a quarter of whom live on less than US$1 a day.

The former US president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will be among thousands of Indian and international volunteers building homes alongside local families in need who will live in the homes.

“Rosalynn and I have enjoyed working with Habitat for Humanity for more than two decades,” said President Carter on the closing ceremony of last year’s JCWP in Benton Harbor, USA. “We look forward to going to India to build houses with families in need.”

The event, like the entire indiaBUILDS campaign, will highlight the status of poverty housing in India and around the world and will serve as an example of what can be accomplished when families, communities and nations come together to build a future where every man, woman and child has a decent place to live.

Mr. Sanjay Nayar, Citigroup Country Officer for India and Area Head of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, is co-chair of the 2006 indiaBUILDS advisory committee. He said: “Issues related to housing are central to our nation’s (India’s) progress and addressing them cannot be done by any one individual or organization. It must be a collective effort.”

“Homeownership, we believe, raises the standard of living for individuals and we are happy to be part of Habitat for Humanity’s five-year indiaBUILDS Campaign, which will offer this opportunity to many underprivileged families. It is also a wonderful opportunity for our employees in India and across the world to help strengthen our commitment to help make communities better as they get involved as volunteers to build not just homes, but a future for these families.”

Caption: From Benton Harbor in Michigan to Lonavala in Maharashtra: Jimmy Carter’s annual blitz build will highlight solutions to poverty housing in India

The committee co-chair, Mrs. Rajashree Birla of the Aditya Birla Group, one of India’s largest multinational business groups, added: “We feel it is imperative to give back to the community and make a difference to the lives of people. The Citigroup Foundation and the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives are closely working with Habitat for Humanity in this major initiative that would impact the lives of several underprivileged families.

“We would like to invite everyone to join us and Habitat in this ambitious endeavour.”

The Aditya Birla Group has already built 100 houses along with Habitat for Humanity in Renukoot in Uttar Pradesh, another 119 houses in Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, and is committed to another 300 houses in the foreseeable future.

The importance of holding this year’s JCWP in India was explained by Indu Kohli, a trustee for Habitat for Humanity India Trust: “It will be thrilling to see thousands of volunteers from nations around the world, from within India and from Asia joining partner families in their efforts to build a stronger future for their families and communities and to show the world how lives can improve when people come together with a common goal.”

“The volunteers and families will be diverse in their backgrounds, but united in their goal to end poverty housing—in India and around the world.”

The JCWP project will not solve India’s housing situation in one week, but it will be an important step in our long but determined journey to erase poverty housing from the face of the earth,” she said.

This year’s JCWP homeowners will come from 12 of the villages where Habitat’s partner, Abhinav Cooperative Credit Society (ACCS), works. ACCS is a women’s self-help group that was founded in 1998. The homeowner families were recommended by ACCS and selected by a committee representing both Habitat for Humanity and the Society.

Families are selected on the basis of need; ability to repay; willingness to partner with Habitat and contribute ‘sweat equity’ and being member of ACCS. Families will be selected on a non-discrimination basis irrespective of their caste and religion. The families will volunteer their time to build their homes and the homes of others as well as pay back an affordable, no-profit mortgage.

During JCWP, volunteers and families work to build walls, fit doors and windows, lay roofs, and all the other jobs necessary to safely create habitable new homes.

JCWP 2006, like Habitat for Humanity activities around the world, attracts the support of many individuals and organizations that provide leadership, resources, expertise, funds and time. Among those committing support to this year’s build in Lonavala are Citigroup, Aditya Birla Group, Dow Chemical, Whirlpool Corporation, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and POSCO, the giant steel group from Korea.

Selecting India was a natural for President Carter, whose mother Lillian Carter, known and beloved by many, joined the US Peace Corps when she was 67 and traveled to India to work with the people there. In her own words, Miss Lillian was just taking the Corps advertising campaign at face value – “age is no barrier.”

Then, in 1978, during his presidency, Mr. Carter traveled to a small village, Chuma Kheragaon, Haryana state. So impressed and pleased were the villagers at the president’s and first lady’s visit, they rechristened the village Carterpuri, in his honor. To this day, the villagers celebrate January 3rd, the day of his visit, every year.

This year will be 23rd annual Jimmy Carter Work Project. It has been held in Asia twice before, in Philippines in 1999 and in South Korea in 2001. The 2005 JCWP was held in Michigan in the USA.