Individuals served in 2018: 3,897,015
- Population: Over 1.3 billion
- Urbanization: 34 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 69.1 years
- Unemployment rate: 8.5 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 21.9 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in India
Habitat for Humanity India began operations in Khammam, Telangana (formerly known as Andhra Pradesh) state, southeastern India, in 1983. Among the largest Habitat programs in the Asia-Pacific region, Habitat India has helped more than 386,400 families gain access to decent shelter as well as rebuilt their homes and lives in the aftermath of disasters. By 2022, Habitat India plans to reach out to 51 million people in need of improved housing solutions, safe sanitation, post-disaster reconstruction and by engaging the youth in its work.
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 national vision of a home for all by 2022, India will need to build an additional 20 million housing units.
How Habitat addresses the need in India
Given the immense need for adequate housing in the country, Habitat for Humanity India engages donors, supporters and volunteers in its mission to ensure that everyone has a decent place to live. According to UNICEF India, 524 million people still defecate in the open in India. Habitat India launched “Sensitise to
Sanitise” campaign in 2014 to address this problem by building sanitation units as well as promoting behavioral change. Taking a step further, In July 2015, Habitat India launched the Sensitise to Sanitise Coalition, a network of organizations that aims to end open defecation. The 25-member S2S Coalition has served over 26 million people across the country. Voluntary labor for Habitat’s housing and disaster response projects comes from international teams under the Global Village program and from local corporates and schools.
Decent and affordable homes
More than 73 million families in India do not have access to decent shelter according to government data. In line with the national vision of housing for all, Habitat for Humanity India works with low-income families to build new homes and incremental housing as well as to repair and rehabilitate houses. Through the Sanitise to Sensitise coalition that it has initiated, Habitat India and its partners strive to eliminate open defecation and promote healthier living environment.
Disaster response and preparedness
Since 1999, Habitat India has been responding to disasters ranging from cyclones to earthquakes to floods. Among the largest projects was the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which helped more than 13,000 families. Habitat India also implemented a community-based disaster mitigation and preparedness program that has trained more than 36,000 individuals. When Habitat India responded to the August 2018 floods in Kerala, actress Jacqueline Fernandez showed her support. She contributed 500,000 rupees (about US$7,000) and led a crowdfunding campaign to raise 2.5 million rupees (US $35,000) toward the flood response. In January 2019, she led 25 volunteers to build alongside a flood-hit family in Kerala. To date, Habitat India has distributed more than 115,600 first responders’ kits, over 14,760 humanitarian aid kits, five tool banks that have helped more than 5,270 individuals and conditional cash transfers for 308 families in the first phase. Habitat India constructed 100 transitional shelters in the second phase and aims to complete 500 disaster-resilient homes in the final phase of the flood response.
Under the partnership with the Asian Tour, Habitat India organized two Pro-Ams to engage golfing supporters in the cause of affordable housing. One took place during the TAKE Solutions Masters in Bangalore in August 2018 and the other at the Panasonic Open in Delhi in October 2018. In addition, Asian Tour’s chief operating officer Cho Minn Thant and golfers Casey O’Toole, Shiv Kapur, Chiragh Kumar, Udayan Mane and Koh Deng Shan also worked alongside families on Habitat builds in Delhi. On January 6, 2019, Habitat India held its first-ever charity golf tournament followed by a gala dinner. The tournament saw 78 amateur golfers joining professional golfers Jeev Milkha Singh, Shiv Kapur and Chirag Kumar in support of Habitat India as it builds decent homes and safe
sanitation for farmers’ widows.
India is a popular destination for Habitat’s Global Village volunteers with teams coming from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Habitat also engages youth through the Habitat Young Leaders Build, the largest youth-focused campaign in Asia-Pacific as well as through the HYLB Leadership Academy. Launched by Habitat India in April 2018, the Leadership Academy aims to develop youth’s leadership identity, hone their leadership skills and empower them to implement sustainable projects in their own communities.
Meet a Habitat family
When Krishna Devi’s husband died in 2015, it was a blow to the family but she made it a priority to send her children to school despite their poor living conditions. Krishna and her family used to live in a thatched bamboo hut with a leaky roof in the Delhi slum resettlement colony of Sevda Ghevra. There were
community toilets but those were often out of order. Krishna Devi and her daughters defecated in the open for safety and hygiene reasons. After partnering with Habitat for Humanity India, they are now living in a safe, watertight house with a kitchen and a toilet. “Our joy is made possible by Habitat for Humanity providing us with a beautiful house where my family can live together,” Krishna Devi says. In their home, her daughter Pooja tutors children from the colony and helps support the family. With their adoption of a stray Labrador named Jimmy, they have become the only family in the neighborhood with space at home for a pet.