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Habitat World March 2011

Habitat World March 2011

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Published by: Hawaii Habitat for Humanity on Mar 01, 2011
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Habitat World

March 2011

To mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Habitat World explores why Habitat works for women — and why so many women choose to work with Habitat.

engage &

A view from the Everest Build in Nepal A look back at the six-site 2010 Carter Work Project


From Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford

The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International
ExECutivE Editor managing Editor assistant Editor photo Editor print supErvisor dEsign


Striving to Make Life Better
his issue of Habitat World celebrates the amazing contributions that women make to the ministry of Habitat for Humanity and the incredible stories of women who hold their families together all around the world. I was born into a family of strong women. My grandmother, Millicent Fenwick, was a New Jersey congresswoman who was widely known for her commitment to justice issues. She drafted the legislation that resulted in the formation of the Helsinki Commission to monitor compliance with the Helsinki Accord on human rights. She challenged me at an early age to “be useful” to those in need in our world. tenure for women — many of whom have no assets, no resources and no power — is almost entirely dependent on the men with whom they are associated. A widowed, separated or divorced woman in many locations is left homeless because she has no rights to the land on which she lives. Yet in Habitat’s work, we see the powerful spirit of women who can overcome the most difficult of circumstances to make life better for their children. In Asia, women organize savings groups that support housing opportunities for each member family. When new housing designs in Brazil resulted in women no longer having to spend much of each day collecting water, the ladies developed an income-producing business. And a recent Women Build project in Africa drew great support to help orphans and vulnerable children. I will always be grateful for the influence my grandmother had upon my life. Every time I saw her, she would recite Micah 6:8 from the Bible, a verse that explains clearly our call to be just and merciful and to walk humbly with God. Often identified as the inspiration for Doonesbury’s Lacey Davenport character, Grandma was a colorful family icon who demonstrated bold determination in taking up the cause of those who need an advocate to make their lives better. May we all be so bold in our efforts to reach out a hand to those in need of affordable housing.

Jennifer Lindsey Shala Carlson Rebekah Daniel Phillip Jordan Bob Jacob Mike Chapman Journey Group, Inc.

who wE arE
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry that works both to eliminate poverty housing around the world and to make adequate housing a matter of conscience and action. Habitat welcomes to the table partners from any faith — or from no faith — who are willing to pick up a hammer to help improve the lives of families needing decent shelter.

w hat w E d o
Habitat for Humanity organizations build, renovate and repair houses in partnership with people in need of adequate housing. Homeowners are selected locally by Habitat organizations based on their need for housing, ability to repay a no-profit loan and willingness to partner with Habitat. Loan repayments contribute to help build and repair additional houses. Because Habitat’s loans are no-profit, they are affordable for low-income partners.

s tat E m E n t o f p u r p o s E
Habitat World magazine is the educational, informational and outreach publication of Habitat for Humanity International. Its purpose is to further Habitat’s goal of eliminating inadequate and poverty housing as a demonstration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise awareness of the issues involved in this work throughout the organization and the world community. Habitat World is free to anyone who wishes to receive it.

l Et u s h E a r f rom you
Habitat World, 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709-3498, habitatworld@habitat.org, (800) HABITAT, (229) 924-6935 fax (229) 931-9629

for subsCription ChangEs
Call the number above or e-mail publicinfo@habitat.org. Habitat World can be read online at habitat.org and is available on request in Braille. Circulation: 1,043,768 (estimated) Copyright ©2011

I sometimes marvel at her life. She was born in 1910 — the same year that Clara Zetkin of Germany proposed the first International Women’s Day and 10 years before the 19th Amendment was passed in the U.S., giving women the right to vote. She lived during an era that changed the lives of women dramatically in many parts of the world, so much so that it is hard to fathom the conditions under which many women live today. Too frequently, land
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Printed on 100 percent recycled paper
Habitat World (ISSN: 0890–958X) is published quarterly by Habitat for Humanity® International, 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709–3498. Vol. 28, No. 1. March 2011.

Jonathan t.M. ReckfoRd

Chief Executive officer habitat for humanity international

Blueprints p
Your content guide to habitat world
One of thousands of women who are engaged around the world with Habitat’s mission, AmeriCorps member Madiha Ahmad helped build a Habitat house in Birmingham, Ala., during the 2010 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

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c a R t e R wo R k p R o J e c t R e c a p The 2010 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project was the cornerstone of Habitat’s World Habitat Day observances. wo M e n at wo R k • Women from all walks of life explain why they work with Habitat. P a g e 1 2 • International programs provide opportunities for improved housing and better lives. P a g e 1 8 • A volunteer house leader and a construction manager trade build-site stories. P a g e 2 2 BIG pIctUReS As we launch the 2011 Habitat World photo contest, last year’s winner Neil Reid shares images and observations from his Global Village trip to Nepal.
on the coVeR
On the Washington, D.C., build site of the 2010 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, veteran Women Build house leader Holly eaton instructs Olympic silver medalist kerry Weiland as the two women work together on a house rehab. Photo by Steffan Hacker

In EvEry ISSuE
f o U n dat I o n S : Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford celebrates the contributions that women make to the ministry. P a g e 2 ha B I tat L a S : Building with displaced


families in Colombia; Habitat Haiti marks one year of post-earthquake recovery work.
Pa g e 4


f I e L d n o t e S : Celebrating the Neighborhood Stabilization Program with a house dedication in Miami; Habitat World launches a blog on habitat.org.
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c o M I n G h o M e : A family in El Salvador breathes easier after a Habitat renovation project. P a g e 3 1
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International news
Habitat Taos undertakes rehab of century-old adobe house

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Post-earthquake building and planning continues in Haiti

Hungary-based Europe and Central Asia Housing Forum raises awareness

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Habitat helps improve home insulation in Macedonia


Volunteers improve the homes of elderly families in China

Habitat Colombia creates community with displaced families


Photo auction helps fund a Habitat house in South Africa


Habitat Kenya recognized for providing affordable housing

Habitat Fiji partners to upgrade water and sanitation facilities


Numbers on the map above correspond to numbers in the text about the specified country.

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Habitat continues rebuilding efforts in Haiti
ore than a year after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, Habitat for Humanity continues rebuilding activities to support its goal of serving 50,000 families by providing a pathway to permanent housing. More than 1,000 families received transitional or upgradable shelters by December 2010, with a total of 2,000 scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2011. This on top of more than 21,000 emergency
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shelter kits assembled and distributed and 2,000 structural damage assessments conducted. In addition, more than 500 Haitians have been trained in earthquake-resistant construction techniques and more than 200 Haitians have been hired to help in construction activities. In a nation with an unemployment rate of 60 percent, job opportunities are a crucial part of rebuilding. Because of the immense need and Habitat’s long-term strategy, the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project will be in Haiti in both 2011 and 2012, leveraging the attention the project receives to bring renewed focus and funds to the massive

rebuilding efforts. In 2011, the 28th annual Carter Work Project will take place in Haiti’s central plateau, which received an influx of earthquake survivors, straining already limited resources in communities that exist mainly from small-scale subsistence farming. The project will build houses with internally displaced families as well as existing communities already living well below the poverty line. Habitat is implementing its recovery project through community-based Habitat Resource Centers. HRCs provide a range of services, including damage assessments, repairs and retrofits, assistance in securing


The Louis family — Natasha, her husband Barthol and their 2-year-old son Barnavens — sit inside their upgradable Habitat transitional shelter in Leogane.

land and tenure, loans of tools and equipment, materials fabrication, water and sanitary solutions, transitional shelter, shelter upgrades, and permanent houses. As the recovery progresses, housing microfinance will be introduced so that families can continue to manage home improvements and additions. To learn more and to view photos and videos about Habitat’s efforts in Haiti, visit habitat.org/disaster/active_programs/ haiti_earthquake.aspx. MacedonIa During the 1970s and 1980s, a mass urbanization policy in Macedonia called for faster construction of houses, often meaning that little attention was paid to the quality and energy features of building materials. As a result, monthly energy bills can be the most costly item for many households. And according to official data, household heating accounts for up to 40 percent of Macedonia’s total energy consumption. In an effort to help improve the situation, Habitat Macedonia has initiated a pilot project around the capital city of

Skopje and in the northern city of Kumanovo to finance the replacement of old windows and doors in dilapidated apartment buildings, helping to better insulate the homes of low-income families. A planned expansion will eventually upgrade 24 buildings and create a revolving loan fund with the help of investors and local governments to finance efficiency-related renovations. coLoMBIa Throughout Colombia’s history, the Sucre region has suffered the consequences of numerous armed conflicts, often leading to forced evictions for many families. Displaced families have concentrated in neighborhoods in the city of Sincelejo, often crowding into houses in barrios like Altos de Rosario and 17 de Septiembre. Habitat Colombia — along with partners Acción Social, Comfasucre and the government of the Balearic Islands of Spain — is building houses with a group of 33 of these families. International volunteers have helped with construction, pouring foundations and laying brick.

In addition to creating housing opportunities, the project provides education in conflict resolution and citizen coexistence. “It was an experience that left important teachings with everyone in the community about integrating and participating in the construction of their own homes,” says new Habitat homeowner Julian Carmona. kenYa Habitat Kenya was among key housing stakeholders participating in a 2010 exhibition organized by the national Ministry of Housing to showcase best practices in the area of human settlement. During the exhibition, participants called on the government to improve infrastructure, a move that could trigger development and help reduce the cost of housing construction. Awards were given to the best five performing exhibitors, and Habitat Kenya was among those recognized for its exemplary role in providing decent and affordable houses to more than 4,500 families in Kenya.




chIna Habitat China is launching its first project within the Shanghai metropolis to improve the living conditions of elderly people living in China’s largest city. Shanghai has been described as the first “aging city” in China. By the end of 2009, more than 3 million of the city’s residents were


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older than 60. These elderly residents often live in aging public apartments not suited to the special needs of the elderly or disabled. Similar to a previous Habitat China project in Hong Kong, volunteers will renovate or repair the homes of 20 elderly families in the initial phase of the “Shanghai Age-Friendly Housing Renovation Project.” In addition, at the end of 2010, Habitat China marked another first when business leaders and volunteers took part in a special one-day build funded by Liverpool Football Club in Pinghu county on the outskirts of Shanghai. UnIted StateS Habitat Taos has facilitated a major rehab of a 100-year-old adobe house to preserve the historic structure and provide Margaret Fernandez a safe and warm place to live. With a fixed income and rheumatoid arthritis, Fernandez was unable to keep up with her home’s maintenance needs. The adobe and wood features of the house — built in 1913 by Fernandez’s grandparents — had deteriorated substantially, and the roof had begun to leak. Compiling grants and resources from HUD’s Home Improvement Partnership Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Services and area housing support agencies, Habitat pulled together enough funding to replace the roof and replaster the house, pour a new bond beam to stabilize the structure, and update the kitchen and bathroom. The memories Fernandez cherishes of growing up in the house and absorbing “spiritual nurture, respect for people and
Volunteers participate in a special oneday build on the outskirts of Shanghai, sponsored by Liverpool Football Club.

Habitat World is also published online at with additional coverage of Habitat’s work.



appreciation for the gifts of our Creator” are as important to her as the physical structure. “Always the house, the home, was a magnet to come back to,” she says. “Now that it is refurbished, it’s going to be a place where family can gather again, and friends.” fIJI Habitat Fiji has launched a project with funding from UNICEF to refurbish water and sanitation facilities at four boarding schools that will also serve as evacuation centers in the event of a disaster. The improvements will not only benefit students but also the surrounding communities that will be more prepared if a disaster strikes. The schools are located on the island of Taveuni, one of the main islands among the 300 that make up Fiji. Separately, Habitat Fiji has received more than US$47,000 from the Japanese embassy in Fiji to design and build three community water systems for more than

200 low-income families living on the main island of Viti Levu. hUnGaRY Habitat — in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the United Nations — will draw attention to regional housing issues in April by holding an inaugural regional housing forum in Budapest. Housing challenges in Europe and Central Asia are diverse, from dilapidated housing stock to large vulnerable groups with no access to housing finance. And with a scarcity of regional natural resources, energy efficiency has become a primary concern. The aim of the first Europe and Central Asia Housing Forum is to examine housing issues in the region to find action-based solutions and ideas. The ambition of the forum is to become an agenda-setting event, while providing a platform for exchange and con-



whErE wE work
Habitat for Humanity started in the United States in 1976, and today its work reaches around the world. Currently, Habitat is at work in all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territory of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other countries around the globe, including: Afghanistan | Argentina | Armenia Australia Bangladesh | Bermuda | Bolivia | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | Bulgaria | Cambodia | Cameroon | Canada | Chile | China | Colombia | Costa Rica | Cote d’Ivoire Dominican Republic | egypt | el Salvador | ethiopia | Fiji | France | Germany | Ghana | Great Britain | Guatemala | Guyana | Haiti | Honduras | Hungary | India | Indonesia | Jamaica | Japan Jordan | kenya | kyrgyzstan | Laos | Lebanon | Lesotho | Macedonia | Madagascar | Malawi | Malaysia | Mexico | Mongolia | Mozambique | Myanmar | Nepal | Netherlands | New zealand Nicaragua | Northern Ireland | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Poland | Portugal | Republic of Ireland | Romania | Russia | Senegal | Singapore | Slovakia | South Africa | South korea | Sri Lanka Tajikistan | Tanzania | Thailand | Timor-Leste | Trinidad and Tobago | Turkey | Uganda | Ukraine | Vietnam | zambia


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Windows on the Work
glimpses inside habitat happenings

sensus-building among people committed to the cause of sustainable and resilient housing for all. To learn more, visit www.ecahousingforum.eu. SoUth afRIca The sale of a 9 photograph recently contributed to providing one South African family with a decent home. In October, French photographer Amelie Debray’s exhibition “Footprints” opened at the Wessel Snyman Creative Gallery in Cape Town. The exhibition showcased her collection of photographs of the bare feet of people who have left indelible footprints on South African society and culture. The highlight of the opening was the auction of a print of her Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu photograph. The gavel was hit at 10,000 rand (nearly US$1,400) with the buyer bidding on behalf of the gallery itself and announcing a matching donation to Habitat South Africa. “For our organization, the 10,000 rand represents in excess of 10 percent toward taking a family out of a poverty dwelling and moving them into a simple, decent home. We are very grateful,” says Peter Francis, Habitat South Africa’s national resource development and communications manager. Archbishop Emeritus Tutu is a patron of Habitat South Africa. In 2004, he was instrumental in securing the Kenneth Kaunda Work Project which resulted in 27 houses being built in Mamelodi Pretoria. And in 2007, Tutu visited a Habitat build site in Mfuleni to thank more than 100 international volunteers who had gathered to build a dozen homes as part of the Desmond Tutu Community Build.

Engaging middle schoolers in Louisville, Ky.
Last fall, Habitat Louisville celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala event named “Hammers, Hardhats & Hope. Some of the ” hard hats in that equation were the result of an art project at Highland Middle School. The idea of a school staff member who also serves on the Habitat board, the project invited students in the eighth grade to decorate a series of hard hats, which were then auctioned at the anniversary event to raise money in support of the affiliate.


Conserving energy in Evansville, Ind.
Habitat evansville is one of four winners of the $100,000 Community Conservation Challenge, a statewide competition to fund programs that will reduce energy consumption. The affiliate partnered with Glenwood Neighborhood Association, Crossroads Christian Church and Vectren Corp. to design a program to assist 100 households in reducing their annual residential utility cost through weatherization products and services.


Setting up shop in Reading, Pa.
Looking for a way to do even more, Habitat Berks County volunteers have started a wood shop in the affiliate’s headquarters. The group builds items such as shelves and is restoring donated furniture, all to offer for sale in their ReStore outlet. The woodworkers also hope to provide certain elements like banisters and railings for the four houses the affiliate will build this year.


Helping to create a safe haven in Gliwice, Poland
Habitat supporters in Gliwice, Poland, have teamed up with Foundation INTeGRO, an organization that specializes in care for vulnerable women, to renovate a former state orphanage. Once repaired, the building will house up to 45 women in need of housing due to family conflict or crisis. Habitat will create the new home design and perform the repairs with the assistance of local and international volunteers.

Want to open a window on Habitat’s work in your community? E-mail news suggestions to habitatworld@habitat.org.

hfhi worldwidE arEa offiCEs
Africa/Middle East PO Box 11179, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028, South Africa. Tel. 27-12-430-9200, AMe@habitat.org Asia/Pacific Q. House, 38 Convent Road, 8th Floor, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand. Tel. 66-0-2632-0415, ap_info@habitat.org Europe/Central Asia zochova 6-8, 811 03 Bratislava, Slovakia, eCA@habitat.org Latin America/Caribbean PO Box 1513-1200 Pavas, San José, Costa Rica. Tel. (506) 296-8120, LAC@habitat.org United States 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709. Tel. (800) 422-4828, (229) 924-6935, publicinfo@habitat.org Office of Government Relations and Advocacy 1000 Vermont Ave. N.W., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005. Tel. (202) 628-9171 Canada 40 Albert St., Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3S2. Tel. (519) 885-4565, habitat@habitat.ca

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5 Days 6 Cities 86 Homes
S t H E y Hav E for 27 years, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, once again joined fellow Habitat volunteers in 2010 for a week of work creating affordable housing. In October, the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project engaged volunteers in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore and Annapolis, Md.; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; and Birmingham, Ala. In each location, the Carters joined volunteers as they renovated and rehabilitated existing homes and also built new houses. Build activities began on Oct. 4, World Habitat Day. As part of its awareness-raising emphasis, Habitat expanded its 2010 World Habitat Day into weeklong events. People around the world joined together to advocate for and take action on affordable housing in a variety of meaningful ways. At the end of the week, it was announced that the 2011 and 2012 Carter Work Projects will both occur in Haiti, as Habitat works to help build — and rebuild — decent housing in the hard-hit nation. “I think Habitat has a chance to have one of its most exciting adventures — and most successful adventures — with this very needed project in Haiti,” President Carter said. To read more about the six locations of the 2010 Carter Work Project, visit habitat.org/cwp/2010. To stay updated on plans for the Haiti projects as they develop, visit habitat.org/ how/default_jcwp.aspx.



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2010 Jimmy & Rosalynn CaRteR WoRk PRoJeCt



CLOCKWISE: Singer Garth Brooks lent a hand in Birmingham. For volunteers like him, Brooks says, Habitat “reminds us of the kind of people we can be. Habitat reminds me I can be something better than I see in the mirror.” / As always, an army of friends came out to help Habitat during the week, including U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan (center). / President Carter worked alongside his former vice president, Walter Mondale, to help rehabilitate a house in Minneapolis. / On World Habitat Day, a gala event at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium honored President and Mrs. Carter for their dedicated Habitat service and their lifetime commitment to strengthening democracy and alleviating poverty. President Carter joined the Blind Boys of Alabama on stage as they performed the final song “If I Had a Hammer.”
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Similar to the time they’ve spent on Habitat build sites around the world, President and Mrs. Carter worked side by side in Baltimore and during their visits to the other 2010 CWP cities. In nearby Annapolis, pictured above, volunteers worked on 10 new houses built in the Clay Street neighborhood. The building kicked off on World Habiatat Day, marked each year on the first Monday on October.

a glanCe aRound the globe
Here’s a sampling of how other Habitat affiliates and national programs marked World Habitat Day 2010.

Greater Des Moines Habitat celebrated the culbuilt 10 homes in a previously abandoned field in 20 days and dedicated them during the week of World Habitat Day. During the Arkansas State Fair, Habitat mination of its “Habitat 20/10” project — the affiliate

In Nazareth, Lesotho, Habitat hosted a familyfriendly day of service at six completed Habitat houses, with more than 200 volunteers painting, plastering and gardening. Habitat

Pulaski County built a house on site at the fairgrounds,

Romania’s Big Build 2010 brought 150 12 homes.

volunteers from Northern Ireland to the city of Beius to help build

then moved it to a lot in North Little Rock. The Habitat for Humanity City College of New York campus chapter held a housing conference educating students and locals about issues surrounding rent stabilization and encouraging participation in

Habitat Bay-Waveland Area in Hancock
County, Miss., distributed copies of If I Had a

Hammer: Stories of Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity to
prepared nearly 1,400 church

affordable housing campaigns. Habitat New York City’s director

church libraries and bulletin inserts

bearing World Habitat Day information. Habitat

of advocacy joined the panel discussion, which included representatives from other area housing and nonprofit organizations. At a large shopping mall in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, Habitat

Trinidad and Tobago hosted the “Hunger Banquet,” an evening event to heighten awareness

of ongoing activities in the alleviation of poverty housing and homelessness in the two-island nation.

China organized the two-day public awareness event “Building Homes,

Building Hopes.” Activities included the assembly of model stilt houses representing Habitat China’s Tai O fishing village restoration project and painting volunteer gloves and hard hats.

Habitat Durham observed World Habitat Day with a petition — whose signers included nearly 30 Youth United members — encouraging Durham decisionmakers to take concrete action to ensure “the stability, the security and the dignity of a decent, affordable home.”

In addition to also marking its 25th anniversary,


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As people the world over mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and celebrate the achievements of women, Habitat World showcases the many ways that Habitat’s work engages and affects women.



Women from all walks of life explain why they work with Habitat.


Habitat’s international programs provide women with opportunities for improved housing, more security and better lives.


A volunteer house leader from Ohio and a construction manager from Michigan trade build-site stories.

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why i

Women from all walks of life come together to help build and renovate houses, changing lives in the process — often, their own.


believe in


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Emily Bergl

Anna Wilson
Singer/songwriter and Habitat volunteer I W R O T E M Y S O N G “A House, A Home” after my first Habitat experience. If, when a person listens, they are reminded that it’s about creating a safe place where the people and the love inside the home are the most important thing — and not the stuff — then the connection I hoped to make will have been successful. I hope it inspires and reminds them of what really matters at the end of the day — LOVE! If there is love at home, then there will be love in the world when we step out our front doors. Despite my disbelief at first, I learned that by the end of a build, an entire house is in fact going to be constructed by people, some of whom have never even swung a hammer. From my participation with Habitat, I have experienced the impact of a person serving and being a part of something larger than themselves.
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Actress and Carter Work Project volunteer O N A P U R E LY selfish level, I get such a sense of accomplishment seeing the houses go up. I work in a business where what I create is often fleeting and amorphous, so it feels great to create something solid like a roof. Before I went on a build, I could barely change a lightbulb on my own. Now, if something needs to be fixed in my apartment, I don’t immediately call the super any more; I have the confidence to solve the problem on my own. I feel this has extended to other areas of my life as well. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from Habitat builds is that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. There’s never one “right” way to do something, even when you’re building a house from very specific plans. And — of course — measure twice, cut once!

I work in a business where what I create is often fleeting and amorphous, so it feels great to create something solid like a roof.”
— Emily Bergl


Kristina Guerrero

Entertainment journalist and Habitat volunteer I SU P P O RT Habitat for Humanity because it allowed my mom to fulfill her dream of owning her own home. She built it with her own two hands and still to this day holds so much pride for achieving this lifelong goal. While I was growing up, there was a lot of love and support no matter where we were living, but my family lived with my grandma or in rented apartments — we never had a house to call our own. It wasn’t until I left for college that my mom was given the amazing opportunity to build her own home. I’m grateful that while I never lived in this home, my younger siblings had a house to grow up in. To be on site is my way of paying it forward, and it’s such a gratifying experience to know that in a small way I’m helping to make other families’ dreams come true!

Jennifer Granholm

Former governor of Michigan and Habitat volunteer


I THINK it’s always important for leaders to walk the talk. My husband Dan and I saw members of our family helping with a Habitat build after Hurricane Katrina. We decided to encourage our family and our friends to build up the state they came from and to foster a brighter future for Michiganians in need. Our Michigan family build was a family reunion. We went back to the neighborhood Dan’s mother was from. This really gave people a chance to have something very specific that they were focused on

while reconnecting. I felt very fortunate to be able to become the expert on the miter saw for the baseboards and the molding. It is an empowering thing to be able to build your own home; it is an empowering thing to learn how to pick up a hammer or use a miter saw or install a sink or make sure that the landscaping is done well. Allowing women to wear a tool belt and to demystify the carpentry of their home gives them a huge sense of not just ownership but power over the home itself.

Alex Eduque

Head of the Habitat Philippines Youth Council M Y HA B I TAT E x P E R I E N C E has been extremely special and life-changing for me, but I think what has been most fulfilling was the induction of the youth council. It formally marked the beginning of what will hopefully become a nationwide youth movement to get youth more involved, to allow their voices to be heard and to shape them into future leaders in the process. The basic fundamentals of Habitat for Humanity are based on the same values and morals I was raised and brought up with. Step out of your comfort zone, and show the world that we are all capable of helping, whether in big or small ways. This is our chance to show girl power and our true strength — don that hard hat, and build!



Ritu Sharma

President of Women Thrive Worldwide, a Habitat partner STA B L E SH E LT E R is a basic building block for further empowerment. It is one of those very basic human needs that can sometimes get overlooked when we’re so focused on health as a basic human need, food as a basic human need. People may have shelter, but old wooden boards and a tin roof, that’s not adequate. For a lot of women who participate in microenterprise programs, one of the first things they do with the money they save up is improve their home. One organization is not a movement. With one group you might be able to get a temporary win, but it doesn’t stick unless there’s a real constituency and a broad movement behind it. Our approach is to build a big base of organizations — which has included Habitat for many, many years — as well as individual Americans who will speak out and stay engaged with these issues. We can’t do it alone.

Allowing women to demystify the carpentry of their home gives them a huge sense of not just ownership but power over the home itself. — Gov. Jennifer Granholm

Thandiwe Banda

First lady of Zambia and Habitat volunteer T H E R E A S O N I A M involved with Habitat’s work is simple, as we are witnessing here that Habitat Zambia builds homes with the poor and marginalized, especially women and children. When I see the joy that comes on their faces when they have shelter, it all makes sense. As a result of decent shelter, they are now able to send their children to school and look after their children. If you don’t have a good home, I think it is very hard for you to provide for your family and even to look after yourself. So if you have a home, you have security. I want to say to all the women hope is there, we want every Zambian to have a home. Do not lose hope.



Amanda Bratcher
Habitat homeowner


I AM A SINGLE MOTHER of the most amazing 5-year-old daughter Madeline. I had been living from day to day so long that a future beyond that seemed like a dream out of reach. When my friend told me about being accepted to the Habitat for Humanity program, I wanted to do it but was very scared. The day I went to help on her house, I knew it was meant for me. When I was accepted, I instantly found myself surrounded by the most wonderful support system I could have asked for. When I lay down next to my daughter at night, I finally felt we had a chance. When I was told my house sponsor would be Women Build, it was exactly what I had been waiting for. I come from a family of very strong women that have shown me a great deal of support, but I soon found out just how much greater my family would grow. It inspires me to know the women who have helped make my and Maddie’s dream come true with the simple goodness of their hearts. With their help, I have been able to show Maddie that working hard and putting in the effort will get her what she wants. This lesson is something she can pass on, and I couldn’t have dreamed of a better group of people to help me teach her.

It inspires me to know the women who have helped make my and Maddie’s dream come true.” — Amanda Bratcher

Pauley Perette

Actress and Habitat volunteer

THE ACT OF PEOPLE getting together to actually build a home for another family is such a beautiful and amazing concept. Homes built not only from the generosity and donations of others, but with actual hammering, roofing, painting and handson work from people who care. Being a part of a home build and then seeing the structure finished and the family moving in is an incredible experience. I had one little girl take me by the hand and show me every inch of her new house. She was so proud, so happy. She showed me every vent, door knob, every little thing, beaming with pride. All it takes to understand how inclusive Habitat’s builds are is one day on a build site. There is a job for everyone. You can bring your skill set with you or learn new skills. Women and men, young and old, every hand is lending a hand.
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Barb Bjarneson

Global Village trip leader and Habitat Canada volunteer

HABITAT GLOBAL VILLAGE trips have given me insight into different cultures and made me aware of other people’s history in a very personal way, much more than I could ever read in a book. Every day on the work site, I marvel at how well we execute our tasks; how we interact with each other with kindness, genuine interest and good-natured teasing; how we connect with the homeowners; and how we embrace every moment of our GV trip with grace, fun and a sense of adventure.

Trisha Yearwood

Recording artist and Habitat volunteer

A PERSONAL FAVORITE Habitat memory was working on my first house in New Orleans. I had learned to build wall frames and had been working all day long and — in addition to walls — had built up some nice blisters on my hands. One of the supervisors came over and gave me a “real” hammer. It was so much easier to use! I guess I had to prove myself on the girl hammer first. It felt good to earn the big hammer! My father basically built the house that I grew up in. I was 6 when we moved in. The whole summer before that, my dad would let me and my sister “help” build the house. I got to nail in floorboards and put doorknobs on cabinets, etc. It gave me such a sense of pride, even at that young age, to feel that I had a small part in building the home I lived in up until I graduated high school. I think that’s my favorite part of Habitat, encouraging people to work on their own homes. The best thing I can say to women is to jump in with both feet and don’t be afraid to swing a hammer! Even if you don’t think you can do the physical labor, you just may surprise yourself. Since working with Habitat, I have learned how to frame walls and windows, cut and hang siding, paint trim, and install weatherproofing. I can’t wait to find out what’s next.


I have found that Habitat gives women — whether homeowners or team members — new strengths, confidence and peace. We may start out building a home, but we end up building people. Habitat allows me to express my love in a very constructive way. It allows me to share myself, using my hands and my heart to build a home for my neighbor — whether they live next door or across an ocean.


» Learn more about Women Build, Habitat’s volunteer program for women underwritten by Lowe’s, by visiting habitat.org/wb. » Find local Habitat volunteer opportunities through habitat.org/cd/local. » Read a longer conversation with Gov. Granholm about her Habitat experiences at habitat.org/hw.

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work around the

Internationally, Habitat programs provide women with the tools and skills they need to improve their shelter and living conditions.

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A F T E R H E R H U SBA N D left her eight years ago, Jumabubu coped as well as she could. She raised three children on her own, including Izat who has epilepsy and intellectual disabilities. Jumabubu’s salary from Bishkek Water, a staterun company in the Kyrgyz capital, didn’t go far, and it was not enough to make much-needed repairs to their two-room house. The roof began leaking. By the time the family applied to partner with Habitat Kyrgyzstan, it was concave. When it rained, water poured into Izat’s room. The floor was ruined, and there was mold. Now, Jumabubu and her family live in a warm and dry home. They were among the first families to participate in a project that aims to keep disabled people out of institutions and with their families. Started in 2007 and funded by the Open Society Institute, the “addressing physical barriers to social

Empowering women in Central Asia
inclusion” project engages partners, including Habitat, and is a chance to break the isolation of people with special needs. While a partner organization provides in-home care, therapy and job training for participating families, Habitat helps to renovate their houses. The project is scheduled to engage a total of 65 families over the next three years. Through this type of home-improvement work and other housing interventions that focus on women-headed households like Jumabubu’s, Habitat’s work is at the same time improving the status of women in Central Asia, where they often face education, health and rights obstacles. “It’s like I began life with a blank leaf and with a positive and good spirit,” says Habitat partner and single mom Elmira Niazalieva.


Building a house, building a business
I N V I E T NA M , it is traditionally a man’s job to build or to repair a house. But Thanh Thuy has renovated her house and made a home out of it all by herself. It has not been an easy life. For many years, Thanh Thuy and her two daughters lived on the US$2 a day generated by their work with a small sewing machine. The three women shared a house made of dry palm leaves, with a dirt floor that quickly turned to mud during the rainy season. There were times, Thanh Thuy says, when she felt powerless against nature. “When it rained heavily, we ladled the water into an empty bucket and poured it outside, but by the time we came back inside, the house was already flooded,” she recalls. Worms would come out of the mud floor, and snakes could enter under the door. Sometimes, the family had to ask around for food because the sewing machine was completely wet from the rain, despite being indoors.

Then, Thanh Thuy was told about Habitat Vietnam. She applied for a three‐year loan that allowed her to build proper sanitation facilities. Managing to pay back that loan one year early, she continued to partner with Habitat, borrowing again to upgrade her floor. The new floor was constructed at just the right time, as the opportunity arose for her to open a tailoring business. She hired local sewing professionals, who brought in their own sewing machines to work at her house, and now plans to invest in more machines of her own. Sometime in the next three years, she would also like to take out another loan to improve the walls of her house. “I never dreamed of having a business of my own before. My house was in such a bad condition,” she says. “This project has helped poor families like us, who can’t build a new house, to gradually upgrade our houses to final completion.”

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AC C O R D I N G T O the Ethiopian nongovernmental organization Action Professionals’ Association for the People, almost 80 percent of the population in cities like Addis Ababa lives in slums that fail to meet basic sanitary benchmarks. Gadisee Mideksa and the 11 family members who share her home don’t realize that they are part of this statistic. There is a lot of life and love in Gadisee’s house. As the 54-year-old widow brews coffee, 4-year-old granddaughter Hermela sings an alphabet song she has learned in school this week. Great-grandmother Ayantu laughs at the antics of the smiling, dancing child. For Gadisee and the other members of their family who call these couple of rooms home, their existence is mirrored in every other family they know. Kebele 04/06 is one of the poorest slums in the city. Very few people have access to proper sanitation facilities. The walkways between homes are wet and muddy, and there is no proper sewerage system. For two years, Gadisee and her family didn’t have a toilet. The previous one collapsed and couldn’t be repaired. Gadisee feared for the health of her family. “When our toilet collapsed, we had to use plastic sheets that we would try and dispose of later,” she explains. “The children became ill. It was a very problematic situation. “I have tried to ask so many people for help. I have knocked on so many doors,” she continues. “There was no success in my efforts.” But then Gadisee met a representative of Habitat Ethiopia, which was launching a pilot program to build communal sanitation facilities in the slums of Addis Ababa to test such a program’s feasibility and impact. With the help of the local government, plots of land were identified where sanitation blocks could be built.

Fighting for the health of families
During the implementation period for the project, 290 individuals in 51 families were served. Gadisee insists that she couldn’t just give up when she didn’t find help immediately. “This toilet block has made a great change in our lives,” she says. “It’s not just my family that has benefited, but the whole area benefits. It is now our property, and we divide the community into groups. We have keys to the facility, and we raise a small amount of money for maintenance to keep it in a good condition.” Land availability and prices keep Habitat Ethiopia from partnering with families to build new Habitat homes in Addis Ababa. The water and sanitation project is the first step toward improving the shelter conditions of slum residents. Housing rehabilitation projects are also under consideration for some of the vulnerable families.

It’s not just my family that has benefited, but the whole area benefits.” —Gadisse Mideksa

“We had so many problems, living here in these conditions, and now one of them is solved,” Gadisee continues. “In the future, I hope that our children can have a better life, better circumstances.” In the meantime, she says, pointing to the facility a little walk away from her house, “you’ve saved our lives.”


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Securing tenure for female heads of household
BA R R IO B E T HA N IA is an informal community that has sprung up on farmland outside the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, in an area known as District 9. Establishing ownership here, as in so many places in the developing world, is expensive, involves navigating a complicated bureaucracy and can be made more difficult by unclear chains of possession. And without proper zoning and proof of ownership, residents in these infrastructure-less communities are often unable to access basic city services. Basilia Carbajal calls Bethania a “marginalized area” and worries about general insecurity in her neighborhood. When it rains, Basilia says, water runs unchecked in the streets of Bethania. On such days, Basilia wraps black plastic bags on the feet of her children so that they won’t be covered in mud when they arrive in their classroom. But most of all, she says, families like hers fear eviction because they don’t have proper paperwork and current tax records. Concepcion Barrintos lives in another area of the district called Cerro Lindo and faces some of the same issues. She acquired a small lot, but didn’t know it was protected as farmland. “I currently don’t have any legal rights at all to the land,” she says. “I’m a person who does not sit down, however.” Instead of sitting down, women like Basilia and Concepcion are working with Habitat Bolivia on a project that aims to improve access to urban land and property rights for women and excluded families. The project — administered by Habitat Bolivia in partnership with a slate of national partner organizations — offers a leadership school that focuses on encouraging women to participate in the type of political advocacy required to ultimately reform property regulations and help their families feel more secure. Other project activities include community organization support and, in some instances when tenure is established, small loans for home construction. “Out of 100 percent, 90 percent of us do not understand property rights,” Concepcion says. “We needed someone to open our eyes and help us understand. I am thankful for the project that has come to District 9. I would just like to say thank you — and to thank God — that you have crossed my path.”

What will you build?

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Two Habitat women compare perspectives and trade stories about building with Habitat.


Habitat builders took time with Habitat World to compare notes and reflect on where they, as women, fit into the larger scheme of building with families in their communities. Barb Metz is a volunteer house leader with Greater Columbus Habitat in Ohio, and Debbie Hendrickson is a staff construction manager with Oakland County Habitat in Pontiac, Mich.

M I D T H E BU S T L E of getting houses “dried in” for winter weather, two

Barb Metz

habitat world: Talk a little about how you got involved with Habitat. debbie hendrickson: I worked hands-on in remodeling for about seven years before I started volunteering at Habitat in the fall of 2006. I came on as a volunteer first and then worked into crew leader, house leader and then came on staff after about a year. Barb Metz: I started about 15 years ago. I had heard about it and thought this would be interesting to do, so I just showed up one day. I really enjoyed the time, so I started going back. Through the years I worked on a number of houses, and the company that I worked for sponsored a couple of houses. Then I found out about Women Build. They were just starting their third house in Columbus, so I went out for that and we’re now on our eighth house. This is my third house as house lead. debbie: Do you do start-to-finish, and is there a site super or a construction staff person out there with you? How is that working? Barb: I do the house start to finish, and yes, there is a site supervisor who stops by, and he’s available at any time to talk to by phone. Either he or the construction director is available to answer questions. debbie: So you basically learned how, over your years of — I don’t like to say “just” volunteering — you basically learned how to build a full Habitat house, right? You didn’t have any other kind of training?


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hw: Do you think that, as a woman, you’ve connected differently with the work that Habitat does? Barb: A big part of Women Build is not just building but teaching women the skills to build and empowering them to be able to do things they wouldn’t normally think they could do. We have so many women who come out for the first time, have never touched power tools, and by the end of the day have been instructed on how to use them safely. They’re so excited because they’ve done something completely outside of the realm of what they usually do. debbie: Unless they’re very upfront and willing to step out and say, “I want to learn that,” women will just go with the flow and not think they should step in and tackle a project. If I’m on site and leading the house, I will specifically make sure that the women are scheduled construction jobs and make sure that I create an environment where they feel comfortable tackling a project. That empowerment thing, Barb, you were talking about, I just love it. It’s a lot more rare, but I have encountered it where even guys haven’t picked up power tools, and just the look on their faces and the smiles at the end of the day when they’ve learned how to use that power tool that they were scared of. It’s amazing. If the homeowners are out on site — and specifically the women who are typically “Oh, I’ve never done that” or “Oh, I can’t do that” — I say, “Yes, you can.” It’s just a matter of instruction.

Debbie Hendrickson

hw: It’s probably a different dynamic on the build site if it’s a Women Build house. Do those women stay involved on mixed crews, or do they keep coming back just for Women Build? Barb: It definitely serves as an incubator for skills because that is a primary focus for us. We would like to be able to do a Women Build every year. In the past that’s not been possible, and so we have seen that those women who have come out and have developed skills have gone on to mixed crews and worked with them. And that’s where I think it’s often interesting to see the dynamic because these women now will go in and say, “Oh, no, I can do that,” or “I’ll go do that,” or “What do you want me to build?” and they’ll have the terminology and they’ll be able to stand next to the guys and say, “Yeah, I can work along with you doing this.” hw: What are some of the big construction challenges that you’ve encountered? Barb: Our crew size is usually about five-foot-four and below, so if we get a tall person, they’re star status immediately. We have a lot of issues with having to get things up high and very heavy things. We were putting up trusses and we had sheeted the gable truss — it was very heavy — and we had to get it up on the porch. So we had to come up with some solution other than just muscling it up there like the guys do. And we run into that a lot, that we can’t just use brute strength because of our size, so we have to think, “How else can we do this?” hw: We have talked about the construction side; let’s talk a bit about the other side. Statistically, more than half of Habitat homeowners are women heads of households. How have you seen their gender impact their Habitat experience? debbie: I see things in the same way as women volunteers — when I get homeowners, it’s simply about empowering them. It’s part of our training to teach the homeowners how to take care of their houses, and we’re mainly just saying, “You can. It’s all about education. It’s not about your ability, it’s just about educating you.” They can do it. And the sense of empowerment they get from that is amazing.

“A big part of Women Build is teaching women the skills to build and empowering them to be able to do things they wouldn’t normally think they could do.” —Barb Metz

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Barb: No, no other kind of training; it was by working on the houses with the house lead. On the first Women Build house that I worked on, the house lead was very good. She showed me a lot and then, as I say, any time I run into any questions, I just call the supervisor or we meet before the house starts and go over the plans to see if there’s anything unusual. And this year there is — we’re doing a rebuild instead of a new house. So this one has brought all sorts of new opportunities. Sometimes I’m scratching my head looking at something saying, “Oh my goodness, what are we going to do here?” And if we can’t figure it out, I call him.


new hope in nepal
TexT and phoTos by neIl ReId

As Habitat World announces the launch of its 2011 photo contest, last year’s prize winner shares his experience at the Everest Build.
In May 2010, I received an e-mail that in no small way changed my life, the e-mail informing me I was the winner of the Habitat World photography contest. My winning photo “New Hope” had been taken in Mozambique, where I led a team of 14 Habitat volunteers from Northern Ireland. September 2010 saw me return to Mozambique, leading another team of volunteers. We represented a range of ages, beliefs and social backgrounds, yet all we were focused on was working hard in the hot sun. This is what it should be like, and this is what I love about Habitat — people coming together for a common cause. With yet another successful Mozambique mission completed, I left my team at the airport and headed off into the great unknown on my way to Nepal. What lay ahead? What sort of an impact would we make? These questions swirled in my head as I traveled to the home of Sagarmatha, more commonly known as Mount Everest. Upon my arrival, I was struck by the beauty of the country, the green rice paddies, the stunning colors in the saris of the local women, the Himalayas, and amongst all the hustle and bustle in the streets an underlying sense of calm. The bamboo build was a first for me. Having always worked with heavy concrete blocks, the


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Neil reid volunteers in Pokhara, Nepal.

strong lightweight bamboo was a welcome relief and surprisingly easy to work with. Treated bamboo frames, woven walls, zinc sheeting and concrete were shaped over the following six days into a home. Everyone soon found their working stride, and under the watchful guidance of our house leader, we finished our house in time for the dedication ceremony at the end. I once again saw “new hope,” this time in the eyes of the Tiwari family as they entered their new home. As I plan the next chapter of my Habitat story, I will always remember the Everest Build.

The build process, the graciousness of the Nepalese people, amazing teammates, the scenery, but more importantly the fact that we helped a family find their feet and helped to secure the future of four amazing children. I have previously been quoted as saying that everyone should take part in a Habitat trip and that, through this, you will receive back tenfold what you put in. I can confirm that tenfold will only scratch the surface.

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Page 26 / Hundreds of prayer wheels adorn the Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu. / During a lunch break, I arrived back to the house early and noticed this cap hanging on the window frame. What better way to sum up the build experience and the use of bamboo as a sustainable building material? / I joined more than 450 international volunteers who were in Pokhara for the Everest Build. Altogether, we built 40 houses during the six-day blitz build. / One morning, I climbed one of the steep paths behind the house to allow me to capture the house in the context of the surrounding area. / Dev Tiwari’s mother will live with the family in their new Habitat home. She is 76 years old and was the most amazing wee character. While we worked on site, she split bamboo alongside the volunteers in preparation for the woven bamboo walls. Page 27 / My teammates and I worked alongside Dev during the week. Here, he was inspecting his newly built house, and I don’t think he expected to see me armed with my camera. / One of the many tools we used on site to help construct the home. Simple, yet very representative of Habitat and the work it undertakes.

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Enter Habitat World’s 2011 photo contest for a chance to help build in Haiti.


what you

Last year, hundreds of photographers from around the world entered the inaugural Habitat World photo contest. Their pictures — nearly 650 images were considered by our judges — created a fascinating focus on the importance and vitality of Habitat’s work. Now that last year’s winner Neil Reid has shared his build experiences from Nepal in the previous pages, it’s time to officially launch the 2011 contest. Once again, show us what Habitat means to you through images that help communicate how Habitat’s mission plays out in your experience: volunteers, families, houses, the need that exists in your community, the change Habitat has helped create. The contest winner will be awarded a spot as a volunteer at the 2011 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Haiti. In addition, photos and statements from the contest winner and top four finalists will be featured in the December 2011 issue of Habitat World and on habitat.org. The contest closes at midnight, July 8, Eastern Daylight Time.

» Official contest rules, entry instructions and required permissions forms are available at habitat.org/hw/photo_contest/2011. » To enter the contest, e-mail your photo entries to hwphotocontest@habitat.org. » Along with each photo entry, attach signed release and consent form(s) from any individual(s) who appear in your submission(s). » In the body of your e-mail, include complete photo caption information (who, where, when) for each submitted photo. » Be sure that your e-mail includes your name, mailing address and phone number. » In order to advance in the competition, you must be able to present proof of a current passport immediately upon request.

“New Hope,” photographer and volunteer Neil reid’s winning image from the 2010 Habitat World photo contest


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Perspectives from around Habitat’s world

Habitat World is also published online at with additional coverage of Habitat’s work.



Greater Sioux Falls Habitat for Humanity
ith a metroarea population of less than 250,000, Sioux Falls, S.D., comes across as a small city with big aspirations. Even in the midst of abundance, however, Greater Sioux Falls Habitat is needed and busy. Volunteers and staff there have been working to increase their capacity to 10 houses per year and have recently launched A Brush with Kindness to expand their service to the community. A thriving ReStore resale outlet — and some 1,400 volunteers in the area — have helped fuel the growth. “This is an amazing ministry,” says executive director Sue Olsen. “I’ve worked in nonprofits for a long time in my life, but I’ve never worked for an organization as powerful or spirit-driven as this one.”

affiliate spotlight

» Sioux Falls is named for waterfalls on the Big Sioux River. » Greater Sioux Falls Habitat celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010 with a volunteer thank-you dinner. Other noteworthy accomplishments include building the first Habitat house in an adjacent county and building to “Energy Star” standards (now in place for all the affiliate’s houses). » Last year, Greater Sioux Falls Habitat expanded its reach in the community by launching A Brush with Kindness. Thinking it would be wise to begin the new program cautiously, supporters planned to repair five houses. By the end of the construction season, they had completed 36. » The refugee population in Sioux Falls has increased significantly in recent years, prompting Habitat volunteers to scramble for translators of different African languages. Often, this task falls to the younger members of partner families. “I am struck by the bravery of those families and the responsibility on the young shoulders,” Olsen says. » An Apostles Build — a house sponsorship strategy in which 12 area churches team up to sponsor a Habitat house — concluded in November. Through the build, Olsen says, new church partners became involved in Habitat’s work, the church relations program was strengthened, and another build is planned for this year. » Looking ahead to 2011, Habitat supporters raised money at an outdoor arts and crafts festival with a booth selling the South Dakota culinary specialty “chislic.” The funds they raised were matched by a local Thrivent chapter and will be directed toward support of a build project later this year.

Comment, interact and get an inside look at Habitat
In early November, Habitat for Humanity launched the Habitat World blog at habitat.org/blog. The goal of the blog is to share a variety of voices from all around Habitat’s world, voices that all together help tell even more of the Habitat story. Each week, the blog hosts contributions and insights from volunteers and supporters, partner families, affordable housing experts, and Habitat staff members. It’s a great place to find out more about the scope and substance of Habitat’s work, to learn new ways to get involved, and to share your own experiences with others who are excited about Habitat. You can check out the blog at habitat.org/blog. Subscribe to our RSS feed to receive new content directly. Join the conversation by leaving a comment. And e-mail habitatworld@habitat.org with ideas for future blog posts.

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Perspectives from around Habitat’s world

Habitat World is also published online at with additional coverage of Habitat’s work.


Building Better Communities

Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds bear fruit in Miami



n late October, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami dedicated the first house built in the United States with funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The new home, built with Habitat homeowners Claude and Rosemene Estimable on vacant land donated by Miami-Dade County, was the first of 160 houses that Habitat Greater Miami plans to build or rehabilitate using NSP2 funds. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development established the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in 2008 to provide states, local governments and nonprofits the funds to purchase and redevelop
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foreclosed and abandoned homes and vacant properties in blighted communities. The Greater Miami dedication ceremony was part of the affiliate’s annual Global Community Day and included seven other house dedications. Nearly 100 volunteers from financial services firm Citi gathered in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. They were joined by Habitat staff members and other volunteers, along with local residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses — all to support Greater Miami’s ongoing Liberty City Shine campaign. As Habitat Greater Miami celebrated the dedication of its first NSP2 home, affiliates in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas,

Citi employee Rosy Alfonso participates in Habitat Greater Miami’s Global Community Day.

Milwaukee, Pensacola and Naples, Fla. also neared that milestone in their own communities. By March 2013, the seven Habitat affiliates will use NSP2 funds to build or rehab 1,062 houses in neighborhoods like Liberty City. That means many more simple, decent, affordable homes for families like the Estimables. “We have so much more room than we had in our apartment,” says the eldest Estimable son, Azor. “And we now have a yard where my brothers and sisters can play.” — Julie Gurnon

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The camera captures a moment in time

a rEcipE For bETTEr hEalTh
O N E - Y E A R- O L D Catherine Melissa Vasquez plays near the door of her family’s home in the small village of Pro-

greso, El Salvador. Thanks to the help of visiting Habitat volunteers, Catherine’s parents now have an improved kitchen area, meaning healthier living conditions for her extended family of six. ¶ Before partnering with Habitat, the family cooked on a dirt floor in a bamboo structure that had no windows and a wide-open entrance. Without proper ventilation, the smoke of burning wood — still the traditional way of cooking in rural areas — would find its way into the rest of the house, causing respiratory problems for the family. ¶ Now, as part of a local alliance between Habitat El Salvador and the Peace Corps, the family has a kitchen addition constructed of block bricks with a door and a ventilation system that draws smoke away from the space where Catherine plays and sleeps and sends it out into the backyard.

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121 Habitat Street, Americus, GA 31709-3498


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