Habitat for Humanity India
Habitat's work in India
India News and Stories
Habitat for Humanity began operations in Khammam, Andhra Pradesh state, southeastern India, in 1983. Among the largest Habitat programs in the Asia-Pacific region, HFH India has helped more than 55,000 families gain access to decent shelter as well as rebuild their homes and lives following disasters. By 2019, HFH India plans to reach out to 500,000 low-income families with improved housing solutions, and clean water and safe sanitation as well as post-disaster reconstruction.
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. Income inequality remains a challenge though the poverty rate has been declining. World Bank data showed the national poverty rate has fallen from 37 percent in 2005 to 21.9 percent in 2012. To meet the country’s vision of a home for all by 2022, India will need to build an additional 110 million housing units. This figure includes the current shortfall of 60 million units, according to a study conducted by National Real Estate Development Council and KPMG.
How Habitat addresses need in India
Given the immense need for adequate housing in the country, Habitat launched the IndiaBUILDS campaign to engage donors, supporters and volunteers. With more than half a billion people practising open defecation in the country, HFH India’s “Sensitise to Sanitise” campaign aims to address the problem by building 100,000 sanitation units by end-2015. Voluntary labor for Habitat’s housing and disaster response projects comes from international teams under the Global Village program and from international or local schools.
“Sensitise to Sanitise” campaign
Globally, India has the highest number of people - 597 million - who defecate in the open, according to a joint report by World Health Organization and UNICEF in 2014. HFH India launched the “Sensitise to Sanitise” campaign to address the problem with the construction of 100,000 sanitation units by end-2015. Habitat is calling for donations of a minimum of 1,000 Indian rupees (US$16) to improve family health and protect the dignity of women and girls.
Disaster response and preparedness
HFH India taps on the expertise built after the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to respond to disasters. Responses included Cyclone Hudhud in October 2014, the Jammu and Kashmir floods in September 2014, and the devastating Uttarakhand floods in June 2013. HFH India also responded to the August 2010 flooding in Leh town, Ladakh region in the northwest by rebuilding 24 homes and providing families with smokeless chulhas, or stoves, which prevented indoor pollution.
Engaging with volunteers
India was a popular destination in 2014 with international volunteer teams coming from Australia, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States. More than 2,300 volunteers built in Pondicherry, New Delhi and surrounding regions. Local volunteers from corporations and international schools and universities also participated in the 2014 Habitat Youth BUILD campaign and Women Build.
Meet a Habitat family
For 30 years, Killiamma had to bear with the annual monsoon rains that brought misery. Home for she and her daughter Kanaga was a thatched hut in Palanthandalam village, Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu state. When it rained heavily, Killiamma had hardly any dry corner to sleep in and her scarce possessions would be damaged. She had to seek refuge in a neighbor’s house.
Killiamma stopped work as a seasonal laborer when age caught up with her. Her daughter Kanaga works as a farm hand but they could not afford to repair the house. The best they could do is to put up a tarpaulin sheet, donated by a local non-governmental organization, over the thatched roof but that did not stop the hut from becoming flooded.
With the help of Habitat for Humanity India, Killiamma and her daughter now have a more spacious house with a proper sanitation facility. The new roof not only prevents rain water from coming in but also reduces the temperature inside the house.
“I am very thankful to all who helped me to have a better and safe place to live,” said Killiamma.
Capital: New Delhi
Population: 1.2 billion (July 2014 est.)
Urbanization: 31.3 percent lives in cities (2011)
Life expectancy: 68 years
Unemployment rate: 8.8 percent (2013 est.)
Population living below poverty line: 21.9 percent (2012)
Access to Improved Water Sources: 36 percent (2012 est.)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 100 percent (2012 est.)
Source: World Factbook