Americus, Ga.- November, 9 2001 - Habitat for Humanity International will be building homes with the people of East Timor, a Pacific island nation, following approval by the international board of directors during Habitat's fall meeting in Americus, Ga.
"Expanding to new horizons, like East Timor, allows Habitat for Humanity to reach out and work with people in need worldwide to eliminate substandard housing," said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International.
Years of political and social oppression left East Timor one of the poorest nations in the world. After 23 years of Indonesian occupation, the island nation is emerging today as one of the world's newest democracies. However, the years of turmoil, including the 1999 militia raids in which thousands died and 85 percent of the country's buildings were burned, left more than 67,000 families homeless. East Timor currently is under United Nations protection as they transition to a new government and rebuild hope and homes.
The housing situation in East Timor is dire. Some families are living in traditional huts made of bamboo with only grass for roofs. Other families don't even have that much and are forced to live under large trees.
Remegio Alquitran has been working for the past year as Habitat's international partner in East Timor, setting up advisory committees and partnering with other relief organizations. "Habitat for Humanity in East Timor needs support from financial sponsors and volunteer laborers to build safe, simple, decent and affordable homes with people in need of adequate shelter," Alquitran said.
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary year, 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 100,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.