HFH India Hosts Special TEEN-BUILD In Karjat

18 Finalists Of A Contest By India’s THE TEENAGER Magazine Are Among Volunteers

MUMBAI, 3rd December 2010: Habitat for Humanity India hosted a special TEEN BUILD for finalists of a teen contest which focused on shelter as its theme this year.

Eighteen finalists of a competition organized by THE TEENAGER magazine volunteered with Habitat in Karjat, western India.

Finalists of the Teen of the Year 2010 contest and former participants in the contest during the build with HFH India in Karjat.

The volunteers stirred the paints before applying them to the walls.

Jacqueline Fernandez (center, in black) met with the finalists.

They were joined by 12 former participants in the Teen of the Year contest. In addition, five staff members from the magazine also joined the TEEN BUILD.

The Teen of the Year 2010 contest is the 15th one held by THE TEENAGER. The magazine was launched in 1961 to create a positive impact on teenagers across India.

The volunteers for the Habitat build in Karjat ranged from 14 to 19 years old. The 18 finalists of this year’s contest are students from Indian cities such as Indore, Jaipur, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Siliguri and Guwahati.

The 18 finalists arrived in Mumbai, western India, a few days ahead of the grand final of the contest on 20th November.

Two days before the grand final of the contest, the volunteers experienced their first Habitat build amid warm weather.

The volunteers were divided into groups to paint four houses which were already plastered.

After HFH India’s staff gave a briefing on basic painting skills and some tips, the volunteers got down to work quickly.

Using sticks, they stirred white limestone powder and yellow paint, mixed red paint with water and paste and started painting the walls of the houses.

Despite being novices, the volunteers were fast learners. Climbing atop ladders to reach high corners, the volunteers worked with great enthusiasm.

By lunch-time, the volunteers finished the first coat of paint. After the break for their mid-day meal, the volunteers worked even faster with greater coordination.

Working alongside Habitat families, the teenagers had the opportunity to learn more about the lives of the underprivileged. They also learned to work together as a team.

Alfez K, a finalist from Indore city, said, “I would never in my life imagined that I would do such a thing. I must show these photographs at home. My parents will be wonderstruck, because they know me. Yes it is an accomplishment.”

Another finalist S. Apeksha said: “TEEN BUILD gave me a sense of satisfaction. It filled me with a feeling of accomplishment in doing something noble. The beauty here is I could see the fruit of my work.”

At the end of the day’s build, the volunteers felt energized rather than tired. Unanimously, they agreed that the TEEN BUILD was the best part of the contest.

R Shraavan, who later finished as first runner-up in the 2010 Teen of the Year contest, shared: “It has been a wonderful journey. The part I enjoyed most was the TEEN-BUILD. Hats off to Habitat for Humanity India!”

Before the grand final was held on the night of 20th November, the finalists met with former Miss Sri Lanka, Bollywood-based actress and Habitat for Humanity supporter Jacqueline Fernandez.

She was excited to hear about the teenagers’ build in Karjat and shared about her own experience of supporting Habitat in Sri Lanka.

Fernandez was featured in a July 2010 edition of THE TEENAGER along with another article on HFH India.

Building on the success of the TEEN BUILD in Karjat, HFH India and THE TEENAGER are planning similar one-day builds in January 2011. The plan is to organize separate builds in Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi respectively on different dates.

The finalists of this year’s contest who volunteered in Karjat will be roped in to help organize the January 2011 builds in these cities, said Joby Mathew fromTHE TEENAGER.