banner image
U.S. Navy volunteers, Indian superstar John Abraham help build simple, decent homes in Lonavala -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

U.S. Navy volunteers, Indian superstar John Abraham help build simple, decent homes in Lonavala

DC1 Brian Quintana, a volunteer from New Mexico serving on the USS Boxer, works with Tera Fediuk, a volunteer from Australia, to paint a window frame on a Habitat house.


Indian superstar John Abraham talks with the family whose home he is helping to build.

LONAVALA, India (Nov. 2, 2006) – The JCWP 2006 build site was yet again an exciting place to be on Thursday, as more than 100 volunteers from the U.S. Navy as well as Indian superstar and youth icon John Abraham joined thousands of volunteers in helping build simple, decent homes on the project’s fourth day.

The sailors joined the Carters and 2,000 other volunteers from around the world in building 100 homes in partnership with the new homeowners.

“I didn’t expect such a large build to be going on when I signed up to volunteer,” said one of the participants, Petty Officer First Class Duane Solomon.

The sailors signed up to build during a Mumbai port visit. During previous visits to India, the U.S. Navy has donated medical supplies, sewing machines and books to The Trust of Nanu Nagle School for the Poor and refurbished the Bal Bhavan Children’s Center auditorium in Goa, India.

The Navy’s participation continues the U.S. Government’s involvement in Habitat for Humanity’s work in the region. Earlier this year, 35 U.S. Consulate volunteers – both Indian and American staff, led by Consul General Michael Owen and his wife, Annerieke, spent four Saturdays working on a 100-house project in the flood-devastated village of Kalyan. Mrs. Owen is also spending this entire week as a Habitat volunteer in Lonavala.

“We are thrilled that these sailors would take time out of their well-earned rest to support Habitat for Humanity in our quest to eliminate the scourge of substandard housing,” said Steve Weir, vice president for Habitat for Humanity’s Asia/Pacific region.

Of Abraham’s contribution to the build, Weir said, “John’s involvement adds momentum to our campaign to ensure decent shelter for the hundreds of millions of men, women and children in India who have no real place to call their own home.”

Abraham joined a team of volunteers from the U.K. and Canada working on the gabled roof of one of the houses. Also on the team was Manda Gyaneshwar Jadhav, the Habitat home partner whose house this will be.

“I am proud to be part of Habitat for Humanity’s great cause to bring people of all walks of life together to deliver something tangible to a woman like Manda and her family,” said Abraham. “There can be few things more moving than to work alongside those who are helping themselves to provide a better life for their families.”

Abraham is already supporting Habitat for Humanity’s work in India. Through a public awareness and volunteer program titled John’s Brigade, the film star and youth icon is encouraging Indian residents and non-resident Indians around the world to support Habitat for Humanity’s “indiaBUILDS” campaign. John’s Brigade is designed to motivate Abraham’s audience to get involved with Habitat’s work to end poverty housing in India and around the world.

The presence of volunteers like Abraham and these sailors, in addition to thousands of other individuals who have traveled to Lonavala at their own expense this week, speak to the wide-ranging appeal Habitat’s work has for people around the world looking for a way to help people in need. Just as many volunteers used their vacations or took time away from work to be here, many more have also donated funds and building materials to ensure a successful project—the payoff of which will be 100 simple, decent homes.