Date when Habitat started working in the country
Individuals served in FY17
Volunteers hosted in FY17
Habitat for Humanity in Brazil
Habitat for Humanity Brazil began its work in 1992 after a flood struck the city of Belo Horizonte, affecting hundreds of families. Since then, Habitat Brazil has developed projects in 11 states and served over 75,000 people. Currently Habitat is present in four states with projects ranging from building, repairing and improving homes, to providing access to water and strong advocacy work.
The housing need in Brazil
Brazil has between 6 and 8 million fewer houses than it needs, and people earning less than US$1,000 per month account for about 90 percent of this deficit. In the cities, there is overcrowding and housing deterioration. It is estimated that more than 50 million Brazilians live in inadequate conditions. According to data from several sources, 26 million people in urban areas lack access to drinking water, 14 million do not have trash collection services and 83 million are not connected to sewage systems.
Rural areas in the northeast region are currently suffering the worst drought in the past 50 years. Adequate access to water is a privilege that over 21 million people do not have. Women and children are forced to walk long distances to fetch water for their homes, often in sources where the water is untreated.
Habitat’s contribution in Brazil
To date, Habitat Brazil has helped build 5,000 homes, improved 2,045 homes, provided water access to 480 families and helped 2,420 families secure land tenure. Habitat Brazil through its participation in national platforms and networks such as the National Forum for Urban Reform and the National Cities Council, promotes public policies that give millions of people living in inadequate conditions the opportunity to improve their homes.
Building new houses: Habitat for Humanity Brazil works in partnership with the Brazilian government to build new houses in partnership with vulnerable families. Through the Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life) program, Habitat Brazil is currently building 640 houses in three states.
House improvements: Through microcredit loans and with the support of a technical assistance team, qualified masons and volunteers, mothers and fathers can guarantee a better future for their children and a safe and healthy home where they can study, rest and play. A total of 1,575 families have been served with urban repairs and renovations in Brazil in six different states.
Access to water: This project aims to improve the quality of life of families who live in extreme poverty and often have to walk for up to two hours to fetch water for their homes. By repairing and enlarging their roofs and building cisterns for water catchment and storage, hundreds of families have access to safe, usable water. To date, 480 families have been served through this program.
Advocacy: Building impact in the sector is one of Habitat for Humanity’s global objectives. Habitat Brazil is extremely active in this goal, participating in debates and policy discussions for city councils at the national, state and municipal levels. Habitat Brazil represents all NGOs and civil society organizations in the National Cities Council – formed by 71 holders representing the most diverse segments of civil society and public power to help solve the housing deficit and benefit more families living in inadequate houses.
Meet a Habitat family
Dona Nina is 48 and has raised two children. She is not only a proud mother, but also a new grandmother. Being a single mom was the biggest challenge of her life; however, there is still some other challenges in the rural area where she lives.
In her community, located in northeastern Brazil, she doesn’t have access to water in her house. It has been like that since she was young. Like most families in this area, she walks over 1 hour to fetch water for her family, many times in inadequate locations, without water sanitation.
Dona Nina has been an agricultural worker all her life and, with this work, she was able to provide for her family. She began working when she was only 12 years old to help put food on the table. This, along with having to walk for water, meant that she never finished elementary school. She saved for many years and with the help of family and neighbors, was able to build her small home on a piece of land. But water was still a distant reality.
Through Habitat’s Water for Lives project and with the help of Global Village volunteers, Dona Nina finally built a cistern to stock water in her house. Now she dedicates the time she used to spend walking for water to her new business: cooking for local workers. She has grown financially and now has access to the most basic human right: safe, usable water.
What can you do?
We build strength, stability and confidence. You can help us with those actions:
Volunteer: Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Brazil or lead your own. For more information, go to:
To learn more about Habitat’s projects in Brazil, please contact us:
National O ce
Rua São Gonçalo, 118 –
Recife/PE, CEP: 50070-600
+55 81 3221-3137
Mario Vieira / Executive Director Urban Inovations Office