The Hojage family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

The Hojage family

Lata Balu Hojage is a 24-year-old housewife from Deole village. Married at a very young age to Balu Nanda Hojage, Lata lives with her two sons and one daughter. Lata has been a member of a self-help group for 10 years.

The family of five lives on the generosity of relatives. Their current home, provided by relatives, is made of bricks and mud with cement sheet roofing. The house is partitioned into a kitchen, hallway and one additional room. With no sanitation facilities, they are forced to answer the call of nature out in the open.

Their house does not have a tap. One common tap is shared by four or five houses. Water via the common tap is available for only one day every 15 days. When water from the common tap is not available, families must retrieve their water from wells, carrying water jars by foot over a 15 to 30-minute walking distance.

With no field of their own in which to grow their own meal, they must meet all their needs with only Balu’s salary. As a rickshaw/tempo driver with a company in Lonavala, Balu is able to earn a monthly salary of 3,000 rupees. He travels a distance of 40 minutes by train and another 10 minutes walking to and from his workplace.

The children are too young to realize the reality of their situation. Their youngest son, Kartik, is only 3 years old. Their 10-year-old son, Kamlesh, studies in the fifth standard in Deole, and their 5-year-old daughter, Pratiksha, attends the Balwadi (kindergarten).

The thought of owning a home once was a distant reality for the family. Now, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, they will build their own simple, decent home this year.