The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | June 2008
At Land's End

South American Stories

Guaruja, Brazil

Varjada, Brazil

Brazil Web Extra

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Bolivia Web Extra

Calle Larga, Chile

Temuco, Chile

Chile Web Extra

Scenes from Brazil, Bolivia and Chile

The Depth of Need

The Architecture of Change


Notes from the


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Area Offices

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Numbers on the map above correspond to numbers in the text about the specified country. The numbers are clickable.

El Salvador, Mexico and Brazil

Minnesota volunteers Dan Seyfried and Lindsay Jenson work on a Habitat house in Pahuacan, Mexico, as part of the 2008 Lent Build.
During the season of Lent, several locations in Habitat’s Latin American and Caribbean region hosted special builds.

During the 40 days, Habitat for Humanity El Salvador initiated the construction of 40 houses, with the help of 500 national and 100 international volunteers. For the first time, Habitat El Salvador is developing a community where it will offer 54 houses, infrastructure, potable water, electricity, wastewater treatment, a daycare center and recreational areas.

Habitat for Humanity Mexico hosted 40 Days of Service, building 20 houses to benefit 20 families. The event also included a focus on community development, including literacy, job training, income generation and community mobilization. In order to accomplish all of this, more than 500 national and international volunteers worked alongside Habitat partner families.

Habitat for Humanity Brazil also hosted a 40 Days of Service event, focusing on holistic community development. Using ecological bricks, volunteers and partners built houses in the Pae Cara neighborhood in Guaruja, a city on the central coast of Sao Paulo state. This initiative, uniting the efforts of volunteers and partners, is part of a larger project that has been taking place in the region since September 2007. The yearlong project has the support of Dow Chemical, the Methodist Church, Guaruja City Hall and Caixa Economica Federal Bank and will provide 32 families with decent housing. The total project allows for the construction of eight buildings, each with four housing units, as well as a common leisure area, private parking, landscaping and two bicycle racks.

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Musharev and Muzafer Rahmanovi partnered with Habitat Macedonia through the organization's internationally recognized Home Improvement Fund to renovate and repair their house in the village of Veles.

Habitat Macedonia’s program of microfinance partnerships was a top-three finalist in the Global Development Network’s 2007 award competition for innovative development projects.

The program in Macedonia, named the Home Improvement Fund, was launched in 2005 in partnership with Moznosti, the local branch of the global microfinance coalition Opportunity International. The program takes a holistic approach in dealing with poverty housing and includes construction, financing, community and volunteer development, and advocacy. Additional program components aimed at capacity building will be launched later this year.

The three finalists were selected from more than 230 proposals from about 100 countries. The first-place award, funded by the Japanese government, ultimately went to Ciudad Saludable’s program aimed at establishing sustainable solid waste management systems in rural Peru. The Global Development Network is a World Bank-affiliated research and development institution.

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In the year following the 2006 July War that destroyed and damaged thousands of homes in the southern part of the country, Habitat Lebanon exceeded its goals, assisting nearly 1,000 more people than originally hoped.

Launched in January 2007 in response to the conflict, the disaster reconstruction program was designed to provide adequate shelter for internally displaced families through a homeowner-driven repair process. The project also stimulated the local economy by sourcing local materials and providing vocational training to help offset the loss of livelihoods in the region. “We’ve been thrilled with the progress,” says Habitat Lebanon national director Dani El Tayar. “We have been able to accomplish even more than we had hoped and get more families back into homes.”

“I really appreciate what you did for us,” says Habitat homeowner Mahmoud Gadboun. “It was done in a very gentle manner even though you were not obligated to do anything. You supported us and laid the foundation for rebuilding our home.”

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The taste of liberty should be sweet, but for the people in western Nepal who used to be Kamaiyas — bonded laborers — life continues to be a struggle. Habitat for Humanity has partnered with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency to provide a leg-up by training 72 former Kamaiyas to build their own homes.

In 1995, a Nepal government survey found that more than 46,000 men, women and children were working under landowners in debt bondage. A Kamaiya usually ended up working for a landowner after being unable to repay a cash loan. The Kamaiya often became dependent and indebted to a landowner, living in a hut on the latter’s land. As the debt was passed from father to son, some Kamaiya families were tied to the same landlord for generations.

The turning point came in 2000 when the Nepalese government declared the bondage system illegal, cancelled the Kamaiyas’ debts and gave them liberty. But newfound freedom did not necessarily mean the end of misery: many families were forced to leave the huts they lived in on their masters’ land.

Habitat and ADRA seek to equip the Kamaiyas with skills for building their own safe and decent homes. In Bancutowa village, Banke district, former Kamaiyas have learned how to make bricks out of the good quality mud that is found abundantly in the western Terai region of Nepal. After the trained former Kamaiyas have built their core houses made of sun-dried bricks, they can opt to add an extra room or a kitchen at a later stage using their own savings. ADRA will finance additional water and sanitation facilities, as well as literacy and income-generating projects.

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Habitat Madagascar is working in partnership with UN Habitat and two fokontanys, or neighborhoods, in the community of Antanamandroso in the urban municipality of Moramanga, which is in the region of Alaotra Mangoro. The partnership is designed to build the capacity of the local community to plan, implement and manage ongoing community development projects.

The average household size in Antanamandroso is between five and six people. The poorest families occupy a maximum of about 270 sq. ft. (25 sq. m.). Housing units are often poorly constructed with mud walls and mud floors.

By renovating existing houses and building new units, the project intends to provide 230 durable housing units for families living in two of the poorest urban slum communities of Antanamandroso. In order to promote community development and viable living conditions, Habitat Madagascar also will invest in basic infrastructure, sanitation enhancements and drainage systems to alleviate the danger of annual flooding.

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United States

At the 2008 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Habitat for Humanity supporter Tom Gipson received a 2008 Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Award for his work as the national chair of the organization’s Home Builders Blitz program.

The program was started in 2002 by Gipson, a Raleigh, N.C.-based professional home builder. He rallied other local builders for an accelerated build, which was so successful that Habitat for Humanity International decided to promote it as a nationwide event in 2006. The 2006 event recruited a thousand professional homebuilders, subcontractors and suppliers to build 459 single-family homes in communities across the United States.

Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz 2008 takes place May 31-June 7 and involves more than a thousand professional builders with projections to build homes in 110 cities throughout 32 states.

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Habitat Cambodia recently secured a Japan Social Development Fund grant to use for a pilot housing program for the urban poor in the Battambang province.
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia’s efforts to eliminate poverty housing recently received a boost when the Japan Social Development Fund approved the organization’s application for a grant of more than US$436,000. Funded by the Japanese government and administered by the World Bank, the grant will be used for a pilot housing program for the urban poor in the country’s northwest Battambang province.

Habitat is looking to house about 400 families in the Preah Samdech Garden Area

in Battambang. These families are among squatters who have been living on a narrow plot of land that was designated as a park but never used as such. In December 2007, the garden area was designated as a housing area by the Council of Ministers with the support of Battambang provincial authorities. With the conversion of the area from state public land to state private land, Battambang officials can now allocate land to families.

In the design of the Battambang project, Habitat collaborated with the Bangkok-based United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, as well as with Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst, a nonprofit company funded by the German government that focuses on rural development, health services and good governance in Cambodia.

“Although the project is still in its planning phase, the lessons learned in Battambang have an impact on the national housing policy of Cambodia, as it sets norms, standards and procedures for urban low-income housing which did not exist before,” says Dr. Yap Kioe Sheng, chief of UNESCAP’s poverty reduction section.

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