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Phenomenal facts and figures -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Phenomenal facts and figures

By Jonathan Reckford

 


Photo by Ezra Millstein

   


We were very excited to learn that last year Habitat for Humanity served 75,000 families worldwide. That means we have served more than 400,000 families — or roughly 2 million people — since our founding in 1976.

I often try to attach such big numbers to something more tangible. For example, a 300-page book contains about 75,000 words, and 2 million people would fill about 22 venues the size of the Beijing National Stadium, where the 2008 Olympics were held. Even with such a visual connection, such large numbers can take a moment to digest. They can be overwhelming. What truly amazes me, however, is the knowledge that behind these figures are individual families whose lives have been forever changed.

In this issue of Habitat World, we allow numbers to guide us on a journey through our story. I think you will find this an intriguing way to examine our work. As you view things from this perspective, I believe that you will agree that Habitat is making a tremendous impact in many communities, but the growing issue of poverty housing worldwide demands that we find ways to do more.

One of those opportunities comes through housing microfinance programs designed to reach the very poor. Habitat has recently introduced its MicroBuild Fund as a means to help families who cannot afford to purchase an entire house. Using housing microfinance loans, families can make simple improvements that provide tremendous benefits. Having a roof and a cement floor, for example, so often means better health for families — not to mention the relief of having a dry place to sleep at night.

Once initial improvements have been made and paid for, families can make other changes to improve their housing situations. Over time, the lives of individual families are radically changed. Multiply those improvements in a community, in a village and in a country, and housing microfinance opportunities can have a tremendous impact on decent housing around the world.

I hope you enjoy this unique look at our affordable housing efforts, and I pray that you will especially be drawn to the power of one: the grace of the one God who grants us countless blessings and the ability you — as one individual — possess to change the world.