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Largest-ever Jimmy Carter Work Project Kicks Off In Africa

Largest-ever Jimmy Carter Work Project Kicks Off In Africa

AMERICUS, Ga., June 3–Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter joined Habitat for Humanity International and thousands of volunteers today in Durban, South Africa, for the launch of the largest-ever Jimmy Carter Work Project.

“I wish to express thanks to the mayor and all the people of Durban,” Carter said. “Remarkable work has been done here. It won’t be long before beautiful homes will be ready for 350 beautiful families. The most exciting thing is to work side-by-side with homeowner families. Thousands of volunteers have come here today to work with them. I am grateful for the opportunity Habitat provides to put our Christian faith into practical action. Many of us go to church, but this is a rare opportunity to demonstrate our faith.”

Former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are Habitat for Humanity’s most notable volunteers. Each year they give a week of their time to build Habitat houses with families in need as part of the annual work project. Since 1984, the Carters have personally worked on more than 1,000 houses around the world. The JCWP 2002 is a 1000-house build in 18 African countries, with the final 100 houses being built in Durban in the coming week.

The theme of this year’s JCWP is reconciliation and transformation. The main build site in Durban is significant as the location from which thousands of Indians and black Africans were forcibly removed by South Africa’s Apartheid government of the 1960s. Houses were torn down, and the area was cleared to enforce racial segregation and open up the sought-after real estate for white occupation. Now this land of past racial injustice has become a place where people of all races are working together as part of the JCWP 2002 to help 100 South African families in need build simple, affordable houses during the weeklong blitz build.

“Habitat for Humanity has worked in many cities worldwide and has never worked in a city that is more cooperative,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “We are enormously grateful for Durban’s progressive spirit, especially their willingness to raise the level of living for the people of Durban. Transformation is taking place. We call this (building site) ‘Ethembeni,’ meaning ‘a place of hope.’ This build is symbolic to Habitat for Humanity, to me personally and to former president Jimmy Carter, whose life is about transformation.”

The 2002 event in South Africa has drawn more than 4,000 volunteers to assist with the building of the final 100 houses at the JCWP main site in Sherwood, Durban. More than 1,000 of these volunteers are from outside of South Africa’s borders.

Coordinates for satellite transmission of a video news release on the JCWP 2002 are listed at the end of this news release. Electronic images related to this release are available for download. For more information about Habitat for Humanity International and the Jimmy Carter Work Project, log on to http://www.habitat.org.

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 2,000 communities in 83 nations have built and sold more than 120,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.