The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | April / May 2002
Decent, Affordable, Habitat Houses Bring Transformation

In South Africa: A Sense of Place Yields Stability

In India: A Joy That Knows No Bounds

In California: Family Leaves Danger And Fears Behind

In California: Stability Brings Family Reunion

In Korea: Safe Shelter Establishes Permanence

In Romania: Doctors Once Trapped By Poverty Housing

In England: New House Means New Mindset for Teen

In Kentucky:
10-year-old Enjoys a "Room of One's Own"

In Guatemala: Improved Health, Tranquility Make the Difference

Habitat Helps Change Lives

Our goal was not to get killed, to stay out of the way of the neighbors, just to stay warm, and try not to blow up the place.”

“Things were so dangerous. The schools were closed and we just stayed in the bushes and the hills because the fighters were destroying everything. …When I came back…we lived as best we could in the wreck. It was terrible at night because of the snakes.”

“The home was in a bad area full of gangs and drug dealers. We feared for our safety.”

“I’ve been living with cockroaches and mice for a long time. We gave our
4-year-old son the kitchen to sleep in, but that’s where the rats were and we worried about disease.”

Despite their far-flung geographic locations, these families had a few things in common: fear, insecurity, danger.

On a good day, their lives were consumed with getting by; on a bad day, with simple survival. They, like millions of others around the world, battled daily emergencies of health and safety needs. They subsisted, with little reason for hope, on the lowest rungs of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

And then one day—after hard work, laced with tenacity and sheer grit—they became Habitat homeowners. Admittedly, a safe, decent and affordable house is not a panacea for every challenge Habitat families face. But without a doubt, it helps.

For these families, it surely provided a bold opportunity to step up on the hierarchical ladder. With freedom from fear, they could move beyond their obligatory obsession with basic survival. Now they can focus on things of higher value: peace, health, education, love, empowerment and self-esteem. And indeed they have. (Read their stories in the following pages.)
Lives transformed. With your help, that’s what Habitat for Humanity helps families accomplish every day.

Thanks for reading…and for building.

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