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Pondicherry, India

May 31, 2013 to June 11, 2013

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote: to travel is to live.” —Hans Christian Andersen

Join us in one of South Asia’s most intriguing destinations! With a rich French-Indian culture and stunning Bay of Bengal coastline, Pondicherry (or Pondi as it is affectionately called) is a former French colony located in southeast India. Let’s do our part to help build simple, decent housing in this land of fascinating culture and welcoming people.

No building experience is necessary—just an open mind, a willingness to learn and a sense of humor. A taste for the spectacular Indian cuisine doesn’t hurt either! We are seeking diverse, dynamic people, who are eager to immerse themselves in the daily rhythm of southern India, on this adventure of a lifetime.

About India
The Republic of India is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world and is a land as diverse as it is vast. Its population is expected to exceed China’s, making it the world’s most populous country.

India is located in southern Asia, with 7,000 kilometers of coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. It shares political borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, Nepal and Pakistan.

India gained its independence from Great Britain in 1947 and is the world’s largest democracy. Since independence, India’s history has been turbulent. Now in a period of liberalization, India faces the challenge of modernizing while trying to preserve its ancient culture. With an annual per capita income of US$1000, most Indian families are unable to afford a decent home.

About Habitat for Humanity India
HFH India was formed in 1983 and has built more than 17,000 houses that are approximately 350 square feet, with at least two rooms and a latrine. House designs vary, depending on materials available in the area and the specific needs of the local community.

Habitat’s IndiaBUILDS campaign aims to house 250,000 people over five years, mobilizing 1 million volunteers in the process and raising capital toward that goal. Currently, HFH India operates through resource centers in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi, as well as satellite centers in the south, east and west. New partnerships with corporate supporters and non-governmental organizations extend Habitat’s presence to north India.

For more information, please visit the Habitat for Humanity India’s website.

Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteer may work on new construction of complete homes and with disaster-response programs. Habitat house designs and materials vary with climate and locale. Typically, house designs range in size from 240 to 360 square feet and are comprised of a living room, veranda, kitchen and toilet.

Standard itinerary
Day 1 (Friday): Depart the United States.
Day 2 (Saturday): Arrive at airport in-country; free time; dinner; overnight in Chennai.
Day 3 (Sunday): Travel to Pondicherry; welcome and orientation with local staff member; visit project sites and families; begin building; welcome dinner.
Days 4-9 (Work days, Monday-Saturday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner and time for team activities; farewell lunch with families on final day.      
Day 10 (Sunday): Free day: activity in local community.
Day 11 (Monday): Travel to Chennai; free time for local activities; dinner.
Day 12 (Tuesday): Departure day.

Team members should expect to stay at a hotel or a retreat center, depending on location. Rooms will be at least double-occupancy in a hotel and will usually have a private bath. Some teams may stay in a shared space with a shared bath.

Breakfast is usually provided at the hotel or the retreat center, and lunch is usually provided by the affiliate and taken on the work site. Dinner is taken at various restaurants or provided by the hotel or retreat center.

Program cost
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)

Share.Build.Impact: Join the GV challenge!
Habitat is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story, building hope and impacting the world!

Team leaders
Carla Foster and Surayyah Hasan are thrilled to team up to co-lead their fifth Global Village Build! After extraordinary experiences leading teams in Thailand, Mozambique, China and Cambodia they are eager to continue to contribute to Habitat’s mission while making new friends around the world.

Carla has built with Habitat as a team member in Uganda, South Africa and Ghana, where she lived for a time. Her other travels include more than 40 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. She enjoys camping, snorkeling, reading and bungee jumping.

In addition to her involvement with Global Village, Surayyah has led Habitat teams as a Youth Immersion advisor on builds in the southeastern United States. She has also visited Southern and Western Africa, Europe and Central America. Surayyah enjoys journaling, salsa dancing and cooking vegetarian recipes.

For Carla and Surayyah, building with the Global Village program has yielded some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of their lives. Though things may not always progress according to plan, they often unfold in ways that make the trip even more meaningful and the experience more fulfilling. If you possess a flexible disposition and a taste for adventure, are curious about the world we inhabit and maintain a commitment to helping others achieve upward mobility, contact us at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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