Hasinas used to feel sad for her own kids who had no space to play in their old house. After she became a homeowner in Sangke district, Cambodia’s Battambang province, her burden is lifted. “Now I feel relieved, even though I have to play a role as both mother and father to my two young children.” She added, “When we wake up, we are happy; they play and run around the house happily. These changes have given me a lot of motivation to work harder for my children.”
Dzung and her husband had looked forward to reuniting with their children whom they left in the grandparents’ care due to work. But her husband died two months after they moved into their own home in Vietnam’s Quang Nam province. Although she misses her husband, she is consoled that she can be together with her two children. Currently teaching in a local elementary school, Dzung is saving money to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education. “I love being a teacher very much and I feel fulfilled every day standing in the class helping young children to learn a thing or two.”
Although Ashish wanted to be a doctor, he stopped his studies at the age of 16 to help support his family. He was already in his early 20s when his family built a safe, secure home in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Now the father of two said, “I was the unemployed son of a poor family. Today, I have social standing and a decent life. It was possible because of Habitat’s support. My family and I will always be grateful.”
Shiva Maya loathed to mention her old house that was falling apart due to rotting wooden pillars and walls made of twigs. It was hard for her son to study in the tight space. As a member of local microfinance institution Sahara Nepal for over a decade, the savings she had accumulated helped her family to start building their new home in Arjundhara municipality, Jhapa district. She took out a loan of 200,000 Nepali rupees (over US$1,700) from Sahara Nepal to finish the roof. “These days, I feel very happy to see my son asking his friends over to study together in his own room,” she said.
Through Habitat’s training in the use of compressed stabilized earth blocks, Kandeepan was able to upgrade his masonry skills. Not only that, he was able to fulfill his wife’s wish. “Along with the grant from Habitat, I invested my own funds to build an extra space outside the kitchen for my wife. She likes the color blue and has always wanted a blue kitchen,” he said. Kandeepan built his home in Killinochchi, Northern Province, with Habitat Sri Lanka under the European Union-funded “Homes not Houses” project.
After their house was destroyed during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Mahadevi’s family of five took refuge in relief camps before moving to a transitional shelter. Settling into a secure, permanent home in 2006 marked the beginning of change. “For a long time in our lives, nothing changed beyond mere subsistence. A thatched roof was the best we could have hoped for. Our lives are not the same anymore. In the aftermath of this tragedy, things have turned out for the best. We now have a house that we call our own. My children have grown up and one has gotten married,” said Mahadevi.