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LIGHT THE WAY
By Milana McLead and Karen Free


"A new century is just ahead of us. Many children and adults from poor families will not live to see it for reasons not of their own making. Let us not bequeath this shameful legacy to future generations. Let us come together now to safeguard the progress of the 20th century and the promise of the 21st."

- James Gustave Speth, former United Nations Development Programme administrator.



A world with no shacks is an overwhelming vision-but as Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International, says, only the will to accomplish it is lacking. Taking action is the first step in turning darkness into light. Here are several ways you can help.
  • Pray for Habitat for Humanity-its vision, work and witness; for peace in the countries where Habitat works; for the ministry that Habitat's international partners have been commissioned to do; for increasing interest in Habitat's house building ministry in new communities and nations; and most of all, for the millions of people who live in less than adequate housing worldwide.
  • Learn about substandard housing conditions worldwide and the people who struggle to survive in spite of those conditions. See our Why Habitat is Needed section.
  • Visit Habitat's Web site at www.habitat.org/ to learn more about Habitat for Humanity and substandard housing issues. Other sites include:
    www.huduser.org/
    www.ctrforpovertysolutions.org/
    newfederalism.urban.org/
    www.childrensdefense.org/
    www.stand.org/
    www.unicef.org/
    www.worldbank.org/poverty/index.htm
  • Broaden your horizons and pack those bags. Participate in one of Habitat's Global Village domestic or foreign short-term mission trips. See our Global Village section for a listing of upcoming trips and Global Village contact information.
  • Share your financial resources, volunteer your time. Practice "random acts of kindness."
  • Encourage your congregation to get involved. One easy way is to order HFHI's church relations activities calendar or family devotional guide. For more information, please see our Church Relations section.
  • Get involved, or become further involved, in your local Habitat affiliate. Join a committee, volunteer in the office, teach homeownership seminars on topics in which you have expertise, such as financial planning, home maintenance, landscaping, etc.
  • Voice your concern about substandard housing and related poverty issues. Communicate with local and national government leaders on issues that affect people in need.
  • Facilitate the creation of a Habitat affiliate or campus chapter in your community if there isn't one there already. Affiliation is a community-driven effort, and it can begin with you.
  • Reach out when disasters strike. Far too often, calamities leave thousands with little more than their lives. Habitat affiliates are often able to help coordinate response efforts. To find out where Habitat works, see our local Habitat affiliate search or call the headquarters' helpline at (800) HABITAT, ext. 2552, 2551 or 2550.
  • Put a face on poverty. Visit poverty-plagued areas of your community. Get to know current and prospective Habitat families, listen to their stories, become a family support partner with your local Habitat affiliate.
  • Become a Habitat international partner. IPs are a vital link in the people-to-people partnership that is Habitat. For information, see our International Partners section.
  • Volunteer at Habitat's headquarters in Americus, Ga. Stints for volunteers of all ages and skills can range in length from one month to terms of several months or longer. Departments currently in need of volunteers include: construction, creative services, information services, human resources, fund raising and donor management, Campus Chapters and Youth Programs, and Educare (HFHI's day-care center). For information, please see our Headquarters Volunteer Opportunities page.

Milana McLead is editor of Habitat World.
Karen Free is associate editor of Habitat World.


Reprinted from Habitat World Magazine, December/January 2000.
This article may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
©1999 Habitat for Humanity International

 

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