Habitat For Humanity Partners With ASK Group To Launch MicroBuild India Fund

March 28th, 2011

Low Income Families To Benefit From New Housing Microloan Initiative

Asit Koticha (left), ASK Group founder and chairman, and Rick Hathaway, vice-president of Habitat for Humanity International’s Asia-Pacific office, at the signing ceremony in Mumbai. Both the ASK Group and Habitat will be investing in the MicroBuild India Fund to help more than 60,000 low-income families in India to access small loans for improving or repairing their homes.

Mumbai, 28th March 2011: Habitat for Humanity International and Habitat for Humanity India have signed a new agreement with the ASK Group, securing 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.

“We know that many low-income families in India face obstacles when trying to secure loans to improve or repair their homes,” said Rick Hathaway, vice-president of Habitat for Humanity International’s Asia-Pacific office:

“Thanks to support from ASK Group, we are able to unveil the MicroBuild India Fund to give more people access to the financial support they need. This move takes us one step closer to our goal of eliminating substandard housing.”

ASK Group founder and chairman Asit Koticha said: “The ASK Group is delighted to be able to help Habitat for Humanity put the MicroBuild India Fund into operation. It is an innovative program that fills a gap in the microfinance marketplace that desperately needed to be filled. Thousands of people in the future will benefit from the investment Habitat for Humanity is making now.”

The first MicroBuild India Fund loans are expected to be issued in July this year. An estimated fifteen microfinance institutions in southern India have expressed an interest in being involved with the new program.

Initially, the MicroBuild India Fund will focus on the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. However, Habitat for Humanity hopes to expand to cover more states before becoming a national offer.

The average MicroBuild India Fund-backed loan amount is expected to be about 45,000 rupees (about US1,000) and will be available to anyone who is an existing client of a partner microfinance institution and has maintained a good track record with them.

Habitat for Humanity International has committed to investing US3.85 million in the MicroBuild India Fund and the ASK Group is investing US1.89 million, both over a three year period.

Habitat for Humanity International is a global non-government organization that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than two million people.

In India, Habitat began its operations in 1983 in Khammam in Andhra Pradesh state. HFH India is among Habitat’s largest country programs. Since then, over 35,000 houses have been constructed, providing safe, decent and affordable shelter to about 175,000 people in need in India.

The ASK Group, with a heritage dating back to 1983, is a diversified financial services group renowned for its strong research based investment advice. The group, which pioneered the concept of equity research in India, is today a leader in the areas of portfolio management and investment advisory services managing the wealth of some of the richest families in India.