Thanksgiving For Habitat’s 25th Anniversary In India
Several Hundred Guests Attended Two Separate Events In Khammam And Chennai
KHAMMAM/CHENNAI, 24th December 2008: Twenty-five years ago, Habitat for Humanity planted a seed for its Asian presence in Khammam, southeast India. By December 2008, the seed has germinated and flourished with Habitat celebrating its silver jubilee in India with separate events in Khammam and Chennnai.
In Khammam, Sanjay Patra, vice chairman of HFH India Trust presided over a thanksgiving event attended by about 500 home partners, local government representatives, well wishers and Habitat staff. Two houses were dedicated and Habitat partners and staff were thanked for their contributions to Habitat’s cause. Local bishops were among the guests present who included Felix Fernandes, managing director of HFH India Trust and Rev. Azariah, president of Habitat’s affiliate in Khammam.
Later in the week, in Chennai on the east coast, another thanksgiving event was held. The chief guest was Frederick Kaplan, Consul for Public Affairs, U.S. Consulate General in Chennai. Others among the 250 guests included former UN-HABITAT adviser G. Dattatri – now a trustee of local NGO Citizens Alliance for Sustainable Living – plus film star Srikanth, donors, partners, volunteers and home partners.
The Chennai event began with an opening prayer lead by the Rt. Rev. M. Prakash followed by the traditional lighting of a lamp. The opening ceremony also included a symbolic “build” where the dignitaries were asked to lay bricks to complete a miniature house.
During the evening, students from the local Kalalaya music and dance academy performed a dance expressing the local people’s gratitude to Habitat and its partners for rebuilding the homes and lives of tsunami-affected families in Tamil Nadu state. Habitat’s implementing partners also voiced their appreciation. A report on India’s work in post-tsunami reconstruction was later presented during the event held at Trident Hotel Chennai which sponsored the venue.
As of October 2008, Habitat has supported over 16,000 families with solid and secure housing with the reconstruction and repair of another few thousand houses for tsunami-affected families.