The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | September 2007
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Habitat's first volunteer, Clive Rainey has been with the ministry since its beginning.
Rainey Days
First Habitat volunteer and longtime staff member Clive Rainey celebrates 30 years of service

By Susan Stevenson

Dodo Watts was a third-generation British actress. Birt Rainey was a G.I. far from his home in Ellaville, Ga. They fell in love and married.

From this international romance came twin boys born in East Sussex 60 years ago, one of whom was Clive Rainey, director of community relations for Habitat for Humanity International, who celebrated 30 years with the organization on April 1.

Rainey has told the story of Habitat to audiences for the past three decades. He frequently speaks about Habitat on college campuses, for affiliate gatherings and before service organizations all over the world, inspiring affiliates to build more houses faster.

When Rainey was a student at Georgia Southwestern University, he was looking for something to do on weekends. Other students "told me on weekends they went to the farm," Rainey explains. The farm was Koinonia, and "it was an exciting place to be."

Rainey had taught in Liberty County, Ga., near Fort Stewart. His students were African-American; most of them direct descendants of Africans from Lower Zaire. Just back from Africa, Millard Fuller--who, along with Koinonia founder Clarence Jordan, developed the concept of "partnership housing" that would lead to Habitat for Humanity--wanted to show Rainey his slides of Zaire, and Rainey was interested because of his former students.

This was before Habitat was officially founded in 1976. As Fuller showed the slides, he kept announcing, "I know the next volunteer to go to Africa is in this room." Several years later, Rainey had built houses in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; helped construct the first building in Uganda after Idi Amin, a two-room house for a widow; and spent time as Habitat's first area director for Africa.

"Life was very whatever it was," says Rainey of the early days of Habitat in Americus, Ga. "It was exciting, but very low-key." Habitat workers would get up in the morning, he explains, and do what had to be done. A half day at an old upright typewriter writing a newsletter for about 3,000 supporters could be followed by working on frozen pipes under a house.

What does he think of this movement and his 30 years helping build it? At one house dedication, the new homeowner told Rainey that Habitat wasn't building in the Ukrainian town that he and his wife had left for America. The homeowner's old pastor had asked for help with a Habitat connection. Rainey offered help and a business card.

"[The homeowner] cried. The family, friends he left behind would have hope for decent houses," Rainey explains. At that moment, Rainey says, he started to "realize that we had become something intangible. We had become hope."

Susan Stevenson is the editorial manager of Habitat for Humanity International.

Budapest to Bratislava
Spurred by stewardship, Habitat regional office relocates

The relocation of Habitat for Humanity's Europe and Central Asia area office is expected to be complete during the month of September. The stewardship-motivated move from the office's previous location in Budapest, Hungary, began over the summer and could save the area office as much as $750,000 a year.

Recent governmental structural adjustments in Hungary have resulted in significant increases in the taxes levied against expatriates' salaries. Given the regional role of the office, E/CA always has sought to employ a number of different nationalities.

In December 2006, a process was launched to review suitable alternatives; nine potential locations, including Budapest, were researched. The sites were analyzed and weighted based on cost, strategy considerations, infrastructure, labor market and staff retention. Based on all of these criteria, Bratislava and Budapest came out on top, but the Bratislava option offered E/CA long-term savings.

"E/CA has benefited from the skilled and dedicated local and international staff that has contributed to the mission of the organization for the past six years," says Don Haszczyn, E/CA area vice president for Habitat for Humanity. "The work we have accomplished while operating out of Budapest has helped thousands more families in the region move into simple, decent and affordable homes. We are grateful for the support we have received here and look forward to continued success in our mission in our new location."

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, a member of the European Union. The city, which straddles the Danube River, is located an hour's drive from downtown Vienna, Austria, and a two-hour drive from Budapest.

Habitat for Humanity's Europe and Central Asia area office will move to Bratislava, Slovakia, possibly saving as much as $750,000 a year.

Thrivent Builds reaches 500 houses
Alliance multiplies house production across the United States

By Cheryl Winget

From 1991 throughout 2005, Minneapolis, Minn.-based Thrivent Financial for Lutherans sponsored 500 Habitat for Humanity homes. In 2005, Thrivent Financial members encouraged the creation of an alliance called "Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity." And in less than two years, this alliance has resulted in the construction of another 500 homes in the United States.

Plans are under way to celebrate the completion of the 500th Thrivent Built home this fall, also marking the 1,000th home built because of the relationship between Thrivent Financial and Habitat for Humanity. For more information, visit

"This alliance has made a noticeable impact on the number of families served," says Thrivent Builds senior director Jeff Hahn. "We hope to do even better in 2007."

Cheryl Winget is media relations specialist in the Alliance Strategy Office of Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity.

Who We Are
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry that works both to eliminate poverty housing around the world and to make adequate housing a matter of conscience and action. Habitat welcomes to the table partners from any faith--or from no faith--who are willing to pick up a hammer to help improve the lives of families needing decent shelter.

What We Do
Local Habitat for Humanity affiliates build and renovate houses in partnership with people in need, and then sell the houses to the homeowner partners. Homeowners are selected by local affiliates based on their need for housing, ability to repay a no-profit mortgage and willingness to partner with Habitat. Mortgage payments contribute to a Fund for Humanity, which in turn provides the money to build more houses. Because of Habitat's no-profit loans and because the houses are principally built with volunteer labor, mortgage payments are affordable for low-income partners.

Where We Work
The organization started in the United States in 1976, and today its work reaches around the world. Currently, more than 2,300 affiliates are at work in all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territory of Guam, and other countries around the globe, including: Afghanistan | Angola | Antigua and Barbuda | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Bangladesh | Belize | Bermuda | Bolivia | Botswana | Brazil | Bulgaria | Burundi | Cambodia | Cameroon | Canada | Cayman Islands | Chile | China | Colombia | Costa Rica | Democratic Republic of Congo | Dominican Republic | East Timor | Ecuador | Egypt | El Salvador | Ethiopia | Fiji | Germany | Ghana | Great Britain | Guatemala | Guyana | Haiti | Honduras | Hungary | India | Indonesia | Ivory Coast | Japan | Jordan | Kenya | Kyrgyzstan | Laos | Lebanon | Lesotho | Macedonia | Madagascar | Malawi | Malaysia | Mexico | Micronesia | Mongolia | Mozambique | Myanmar | Nepal | Netherlands | New Zealand | Nicaragua | Nigeria | Northern Ireland | Pakistan | Panama | Papua New Guinea | Paraguay | Philippines | Poland | Portugal | Republic of Ireland | Republic of Korea | Romania | Russia | Rwanda | Senegal | Sierra Leone | Singapore | Slovakia | Solomon Islands | South Africa | Sri Lanka | Suriname | Tajikistan | Tanzania | Thailand | Trinidad and Tobago | Turkey | Uganda | Vanuatu | Vietnam | Zambia

You Can Help
Volunteers fill key roles in Habitat for Humanity's work, both on the construction site and in other positions such as family selection and support, fund raising and advocacy. For more information about becoming involved with Habitat for Humanity, please contact us at 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709.

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