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Habitat Inks Memorandum Of Understanding For 1,000-House Project In Gujarat, Western India

Partnership With Local Charitable Trust Anarde Foundation; Backing From Gujarat Government

Mumbai, 15th May 2007: Habitat for Humanity in India moved closer toward the goal of its IndiaBUILDS campaign with a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with Anarde Foundation, a local charitable trust, for 1,000 houses to be built in the western state of Gujarat. TheIndiaBUILDS campaign aims to house 250,000 people over five years, mobilizing one million volunteers in the process and raising capital toward that goal.

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Joining hands: (From left) Kapoorbhai Chandaria, chairman of Anarde Foundation, Rajashree Birla, chairperson of IndiaBUILDS campaign, and Peter Selvarajan, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in India at the signing of the MOU in Mumbai.

Peter Selavarajan, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in India, and Kapoorbhai Chandaria, chairman of Anarde Foundation, signed the MOU, with the endorsement of Rajashree Birla, chairperson of indiaBUILDSadvisory committee. Birla is also chairperson of the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, part of the Aditya Birla Group, one of India’s largest business groups. Other advisory committee members present at the signing, included Vipul Shah, CEO of Dow; Gul Kripalani, chairman and managing director of the Pijikay group; and Madhulika Gupta from Citibank.

Speaking at the ceremony, Selvarajan said Habitat for Humanity aims to be a catalyst to provide sustainable and affordable housing solutions for over 315 million Indians living in sub-standard conditions.

Referring to the project, Birla said “this is indeed a forward-looking step in theIndiaBUILDScampaign where we collectively aim to build 50,000 homes for the poor in a five-year time-frame. Of these 50,000 homes, 10,000 have been envisaged for Gujarat”.

Anarde’s Chandaria added: “This project is expected to directly improve the lives of over 5,000 people in northern Gujarat by the year 2008.”

A major part of the funding for the 47 million rupee (about US$1.1 million) project will come from the state government which has a housing scheme for families living below the poverty line. Mumbai-based Anarde (Acil-Navasarjan Rural Development) Foundation is one of the agencies responsible for implementing the Gujarat housing scheme. Anarde will also take charge of collecting loan repayments from the home partners.

Set up in 1979, Anarde currently works in over 15,000 villages in 16 states including Gujarat and Maharashtra in the west. Its mission is to eradicate poverty in rural India through an integrated program of rural development with emphasis on economic advancement.