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First Habitat Resource Centre opens doors in Tajikistan

May 6, 2009

ASHT, TAJIKISTAN (May 6, 2009) – Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan, supported financially by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Habitat for Humanity Canada, has launched today its first Building and Training Centre (BTC). It will offer vocational education on construction skills and create a social enterprise that provides housing services to low-income families. This month, BTC is starting three courses for electricians, welding and sewing. Classes are already full, and a long waiting list shows the need for such an undertaking in the country.

This Centre is an important innovation in Habitat’s response to the need for skilled workers, improved income, reduced out-migration and eradication of poverty-housing in Tajikistan, where more than half of the population still lives in extreme poverty. In December 2008, CIDA agreed to provide almost CAD500,000 for 3 years to support the establishment of two Habitat Resource Centres, one in Asht, in the north, and the other in the south of the country, preparations for which will start later in 2009.

Present at the opening ceremony were, on behalf of Habitat Canada and CIDA, Wayne de Jong, vice president for international programs and strategic partnerships at HFH Canada, Mrs Mavluda Makhamova, deputy chairman of Asht region, Mr Tolibjon Makhmudov, chairman of the local education department, Mrs Matliba Mirzomatova, mayor of Shaidon jamaat and Mr Masurzjon Kodirov, director of the partner High School of Asht, as well as teachers and local community leaders. Mr Willo Brock, director of resource development and communications, represented at the ceremony Habitat for Humanity Europe and Central Asia office.

Mrs Makhamova, deputy chairman of Asht region, unveiled plans for the president of Tajikistan to visit the Centre in June. She added: “To see such an important investment in our region at this time of global crisis, is very reassuring and provides an important boost of confidence for our people. For this, I like to thank the Canadian government and Habitat for Humanity Canada”. Mr Kodirov, director of the partner school and one of the most active advocates and supporters for this program, said: “It is essential for our youth that they will be able to gain practical job skills which they can apply to improve their chances on the job market”.

Wayne de Jong, vice president for international programs and strategic partnerships, who has been leading the work with CIDA in Canada and supporting the team of Habitat Tajikistan in the development of this important proposal for the needy region, said: “It is great to be here today and finally see the result of the long process of preparation. Habitat Canada’s Board is delighted and extremely supportive towards the people of Tajikistan and I wish you all the best in developing this Centre into a huge success”.

With a firm “START” the production of aerated blocks was set into motion. Concrete blocks are the first in a series of products that will be produced by the Centre to help create a local construction industry and make high quality building materials available for the large number of people living in low quality and overcrowded housing.

The project in Asht is implemented by Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan in partnership with the district employment centre and department of education. Annually, HFH Tajikistan will be supporting 216 individuals in gaining vocational skills and HIV/AIDS awareness through HRC courses. In the first year, it will create employment opportunities for 28 local men and women, from the second year onwards – for 53. A total of 282 homes will be renovated and completed annually over first 3 years. From the second year, HFH Tajikistan will be also supporting each year 500 individuals – including women and youth – to gain skills for earthquake resistant construction.

Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated and repaired more than 350,000 homes worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. In Europe and Central Asia, Habitat for Humanity works in 20 countries, building and repairing houses, offering housing microfinance services, improving water and sanitation, working on disaster response and advocating for affordable housing, all with families in need. Find out more at www.habitateurope.org.

Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan
In Tajikistan, Habitat was established in 1999, and to date more than 530 housing interventions have been completed, ranging from new house builds, completion of half-built houses, renovations and the complete remodelling of an apartment block building, together with volunteers and homeowners. A total of almost 2500 families has been served. Find out more at www.habitat.tj.

Habitat for Humanity Canada
In 1985 the Habitat movement spread to Canada with the formation of the first Canadian affiliate in Winkler, Manitoba. From these simple beginnings the Habitat for Humanity movement in Canada has grown to 70 affiliates in 10 provinces and two territories and has been successful in placing more than 1,000 families into new homes. Find out more information at www.habitat.ca.

Canadian International Development Agency
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is Canada’s lead agency for development assistance. It has a mandate to support sustainable development in developing countries in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable, and prosperous world. To get more information visit CIDA web site at www.acdi-cida.gc.ca.