Habitat for Humanity India
Habitat's work in India
India News and Stories
HFH India began operations in 1983 in Khammam in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. It is among Habitat’s largest programs in the Asia-Pacific region, having assisted
tens of thousands of families since its inception. For more than a decade HFH India has helped families rebuild and recover from disasters. Given the immense need for adequate housing in the country, Habitat launched the India-BUILDS – a World of Hope initiative which aims to serve 500,000 people with improved housing and related sanitation over the next four years. HFH India also looks to mobilize one million volunteers in the process. HFH India hosted its first-ever Jimmy Carter Work Project in 2006 when more than 2,000 international and local volunteers helped to build 100 houses in Lonavala in western India.
Housing needs in India
The world’s largest democracy, India has seen rapid economic growth and made progress toward achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals. But poverty remains a major challenge though it is declining steadily but slowly. Government and World Bank data showed the national poverty rate has fallen from 37 percent in 2005 to about 32 percent in 2010. More poor people live in the rural areas than towns and cities, according to the World Bank. India faces a housing shortage of nearly 74 million housing units by the end of 2011, according to the National Housing Bank, the country’s state-owned lender to home-mortgage companies. The majority of the housing shortfall is in the rural areas. One in every five rural dwellers lives in katcha homes which are structures made of mud, thatch, grass or other non-lasting natural materials. In urban areas, the poor can be found living under bridges, on pavements, train tracks, highways and canals as well as in crowded slums.
How Habitat for Humanity works
Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with local, grassroots non-government organizations, microfinance institutions and other partners throughout India to provide decent housing. Home partners contribute their own labor, or sweat equity, construction materials and repay toward the cost of building their homes. Regular repayments go into a Fund for Humanity which helps Habitat to build more homes. Habitat uses a Save & Build housing microfinance concept in India in order to reach more communities in need. Home partner families usually form groups – often led by women – to save about one-third of the cost of each house while Habitat, non-governmental organizations or corporate partners invest the remaining two thirds.
In March 2011, Habitat for Humanity International and HFH India signed a new agreement with India’s ASK Group to secure their investment in the MicroBuild India Fund, a new initiative that will help more than 60,000 low-income families access small loans to improve or repair their homes over the next five years. The MicroBuild India Fund will invest in reputable, local microfinance institutions which, in turn, will allow them to offer affordable home improvement loans to low-income families. Habitat houses in India range in size from 20 sq. m. to 33.5 sq. m. Each house usually comprises a living room, kitchen and toilet. Houses constructed under the post-tsunami reconstruction program are earthquake-resistant and feature stairs to the roof to aid evacuation in the event of floods. To extend the reach of its programs, HFH India operates resource centers in Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and the capital, New Delhi. Habitat Resource Centers have proved key in rebuilding after disasters, particularly after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. HFH India has helped 13,000 families recover from the 2004 tsunami. Working with local NGO partners, Habitat continues to assist thousands of families to prepare for a disaster before it strikes and to protect their lives and property. To date, HFH India has helped an additional 30,000 families through its disaster risk reduction efforts.
Each year, HFH India hosts between 35 and 50 international teams of volunteers who come from close to 15 countries across the US, Europe and Asia. In the financial year ended 30 June 2011, HFH India has hosted 46 international teams and over 3,400 corporate volunteers from India. Staff from locally based companies took part in 130 builds around the country.
Habitat’s work is supported by student volunteers and churches as well as local and international businesses. Business partners include the ASK Group, Aditya Birla Group, Bayer India, Bloomberg, Cisco, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, CRISIL, Cummins, Deutsche Bank, Dell Services, DSP Merrill Lynch, ETA Star Property, Fujitsu, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Housing Development Finance Corporation, JP Morgan, Larsen & Toubro, Nissan, POSCO India, PT Kerney, Thomson Reuters, Timken, Wells Fargo and ZEE among others.
- February 2012: HFH India distributed 1,000 emergency shelter kits to families in Tamil Nadu who were hit by December 2011’s Cyclone Thane.
- January 2012: Indian property firm Pashmina Developers handed over the first instalment of a 45-million-rupee (US$ 858,300) donation to HFH India following a fundraising initiative last year. Pashmina’s contribution will eventually help over 1,000 families to have decent housing.
- October 2011: HFH India to distribute a total of 1,000 emergency shelter kits and 500 hygiene kits to help 9,000 people affected by severe flooding in Orissa.
- August 2011: A group of three differently abled riders traveled 6,000 km. and raised 1.475 million rupees (US$30,300) to help Habitat build five houses for flood-affected families in Leh.
- July 2011: Launch of IndiaBUILDS campaign in Great Britain. Events to raise funds and awareness included a fundraising dinner with the Indian cricket team, a high tea at The Orangery, Kensington Palace with the Duke of Gloucester and a mock build at the London Business School.
- March 2011: Habitat for Humanity International and HFH India signed a new agreement with India’s ASK Group to secure their investment in the MicroBuild India Fund, a new initiative that will help over 60,000 low-income families access small loans to improve or repair their homes over the next five years.
- February 2011: Corporate supporters spoke for Habitat at a Mumbai dinner co-hosted by the Indian Merchants’ Chamber. Speakers included Ron Terwilliger, former chair of Habitat for Humanity International’s Board of Directors and chairman, Habitat’s Global World of Hope Campaign. Mr. Terwilliger and Mrs. Rajashree Birla, chair of the IndiaBUILDS campaign, also joined volunteers at Habitat’s Ivy Leaguer Build in Karjat.
- November 2006: 100 homes were built by over 2,000 volunteers, including celebrities Brad Pitt, Steve Waugh and John Abra ham, during the five-day Jimmy Carter Work Project in Lonavala, outside of Mumbai.
- 1,189,172,906 (July 2011 est.)
- New Delhi
- 3,287,683 sq. km.
- Groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and
- 3% (2000)
- Hindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%,
- 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese
- Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9%.
Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
Literacy: 61% (2001 census)
Urbanization: 30% of total population (2010)
Population Living On US$1.25 A Day: 42% (2005)
Access to Improved Water Sources: 88% (2009)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 31% (2009)
Sources: CIA World Factbook, World Bank