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Australian cricket star Steve Waugh builds with homeowners and volunteers on the JCWP build site -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Australian cricket star Steve Waugh builds with homeowners and volunteers on the JCWP build site

Lending a helping hand: Steve Waugh (in orange cap) and another volunteer work together to lay bricks at the JCWP build site in Lonavala, India.

LONAVALA, Mumbai, October 31, 2006: Construction was in full swing during the second day of the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Lonavala, India. Many of the volunteers and home partners were already working before the official start time of 8 a.m.

While former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn visited tsunami-affected Chennai on the eastern coast of India, more than 2,000 volunteers continued to build with enthusiasm. Working hard among them was Australian cricket star Steve Waugh.

“Habitat for Humanity builds cannot succeed without volunteerism, preparation and planning,” said Waugh. “Volunteers have to bring passion to what they believe in and what they are creating.”

On the build site volunteers gravitated toward the house that Waugh was helping to build. Several stood nearby, hoping for a glimpse of Waugh as he laid bricks. Others brought along cameras for a shot of the “man with nerves of steel,” so named for his skills on the cricket field. Some youth volunteers talked excitedly after Waugh stopped to shake hands with one of them.

“We are grateful for Steve’s support at this year’s JCWP,” said Steve Weir, senior vice president of Habitat’s Asia Pacific area office. “He is making a difference in the life of a family in need of housing and also helping to inspire others to join us.”

Throughout the day the volunteers’ enthusiasm came across in the frequent cheers and claps when tasks were successfully completed. Good progress was made at several of the houses, with cement bricks laid up to the roof level. Frames and grilles of doors and windows were also painted. Toward the end of the day many volunteers danced together with a procession of performers to the pulsating beat of their drums.

Waugh served as captain of the Australian cricket team from 1999 to 2004 and is the most experienced Test cricketer in history, having made 168 appearances in international matches. As a philanthropist, he supports many causes, including the Steve Waugh Foundation – Australia. He was named Australian of the Year in 2004 for his achievements in cricket and charity work. Waugh and his wife, Lynette, have three children. In 2005, he was named Australian Father of the Year.

In keeping with the project’s history of raising awareness about the issues that lead to poverty housing in its build communities, JCWP 2006 is associated with the indiaBUILDS program, a five-year campaign by HFH India designed to engage one million volunteers in helping to provide shelter in partnership with 250,000 people. The campaign also seeks to raise funds for a sustainable revolving fund worth US$50 million.

The involvement of celebrities such as Waugh, working in partnership with volunteers from around the globe, is an important part of Habitat’s mission to make the elimination of poverty housing a matter of conscience and action on a global scale.