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What did Europe build on World Habitat Day?

Habitat national offices throughout Europe and Central Asia were busy raising real and virtual walls to show how an action-driven approach can help to solve the world’s housing problem.

Bus stops turned into shacks on the Grote Markt in Groningen, The Netherlands.

On October 4, Habitat for Humanity Netherlands turned bus stops in Groningen into shacks. The first slums appeared in the city at dawn on the Grote Markt. Passers-by could step inside and by using a special application take a virtual slum excursion showing how a virtual reality is a reality for some in this world. The campaign launched a new web site for Habitat Netherlands - www.bouwmee.nl. Now, one can go there and build a virtual house with friends while raising money for a real home for a real family in need of simple and decent shelter.

One hundred and twenty-five volunteers from Northern Ireland answered the World Habitat Day call to action by delivering decent, affordable shelter to 12 underprivileged families in Romania. For the second year in a row they went to Beius for the Big Build event. Last year 10 homes were finished in one week. This year, the Big Build II team completed 12 homes in Beius.

In Armenia, local volunteers and Habitat’s staff plastered and painted walls in a house in Spitak. The city mayor, representatives of the state urban ministry, partner organizations and students from the Armenian national lyceum volunteered with Habitat. The repairing Homes project in Spitak will provide affordable housing for the families who suffered in the 1988 earthquake. The city of Spitak, at the time Armenia’s leading industrial center, experienced a devastating earthquake that left 500,000 people homeless.

Volunteers refurbishing window frames as part of the renovation build in Miskolc, Hungary.

In Hungary, Habitat for Humanity launched a campaign in major cities and on the social media under the theme “What will you build?” Weeklong activities that started by releasing The Shelter Report 2011, posting of online banners and performing street actions culminated on October 8 with a build for editors and reporters in Miskolc. They gathered to work on the renovation of a residential building for people with autism.

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our donations page to support projects in Europe and Central Asia.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in Europe and Central Asia.

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