With the founding of Apple Computer Inc. in 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne started a company that would revolutionize the way we compute and the way we communicate. That same year, anger in Soweto began to unravel the fabric of apartheid in South Africa, and a group of passionate Christians in Americus, Georgia, launched a new organization called Habitat for Humanity. With Apple, with South Africa and with Habitat, isn’t it incredible how passion ignited by one idea can impact millions of people?
We’ve seen over and over the inextricable links between housing, health, education and livelihoods. -Jonathan Reckford
No one knows that better than the more than 500,000 families around the world who now have new or improved places to live because of their partnerships with Habitat. For some families, that has meant finally having shelter from the wind and rain. For others, it’s the ability to move their children away from the toxins that were making them sick. For many, it has been the first step toward better education and better jobs.
Our measures of success will always center on our ability to make lives better. As Habitat has matured, we have learned that success can take many forms. Sometimes, it’s building a new home or rehabilitating an empty or dilapidated house. Other times, the best thing we can do is help a family acquire a housing microfinance loan that allows them to make the incremental improvements they can afford. In other cases, much-needed repairs or making a house accessible for a differently-abled family member can make a world of difference.
As we have partnered with individual families through the years, we have discovered how Habitat can have an even greater impact by partnering with other organizations to address issues that can improve the lives of an entire community. We’ve seen over and over the inextricable links between housing, health, education and livelihoods.
We’ve seen the transformational impact of small investments in concrete floors, decent roofs, clean water and basic sanitation. We continue to see that we must build more and build louder, lending our voice for protection of property rights and secure tenure. And we’ve seen hearts and lives changed and relationships built across geographic, religious, cultural and socioeconomic divides, with physical walls going up and the invisible barriers that separate us tumbling down.
Our 35th anniversary has allowed us a great opportunity to look back and to celebrate. Thank you for all that you have done to help us further our mission, and please continue on this journey with us as we move forward, seeking to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.
Jonathan T.M. Reckford
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity International