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  • In New Mexico, a mother frets over paint thats chipping from her window-sills--because she keeps nding the lead-based chips in her toddlers little hands.With labored breath, a little boy in West Virginia battles asthma that has resulted in part from the poor conditions in which he is living: the mold and mildew, the cockroaches and dust mites, the rodent allergens.Beyond a crowded market in Manila, children compete with dogs for refuse while families make their homes and livelihoods in the shadows of garbage heaps.Around the world, houses lean like makeshift scaffolding across rural plains and in dense, noisy, polluted urban quarters.

    Habitat for Humanitys mission is to eliminate these conditions--from the busiest city to the most remote village. Its partnership housing approach is proven, its commitment resolute. However, it cannot do it alone and relies on contributions from millions of people throughout the world. Each Habitat partner can and does make a difference. And whether those contributions ar-rive in the form of volunteer labor or nancial donations, each helps build a house with a family who needs it.Millions of families all over the world count on Habitats work--and on its partners involvement. They struggle daily to overcome the hardships of substandard housing. They seek warmth in the cold, relief from the sti ing heat and a better life in every climate. Mean-while, their health declines, their anguish deepens and their hope fades to a glimmer--yet not all is completely lost. Through partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, families, once stooped under the heavy burden of poverty hous-ing, have unleashed new potential after moving into a decent, affordable home. The roof is solid, the oors sound. Inside, bugs and bad weather no longer slip through cracks in the walls, and new stability resides there instead.For almost three decades, Habitat has been helping families overcome such desperate conditions. As the need for housing remains dire, Habitat will only redouble its efforts to narrow the gap between those who have a decent place to live and those who dont. With so many families living in substandard housing, we have to act swiftly and thoroughly, says Millard Fuller, Habitats founder and president. Weve come a long way, but the road ahead is long

    still. Yet as more people become involved and share in our concern for those enduring such horrible situations, as they volunteer and donate money and help advocate for low-income fami-lies, we can reach the end of the road and help chart a new direction. For those fraught with pov-erty and the worry that comes with it.Habitat for Humanity is committed to eliminating burdens many families shoulder by building solid, afford-able houses in partnership with those families. To date, the organization has provided shelter to more than 175,000 families, housing nearly 900,000 people.

    This work requires volunteers, to be sure. It takes materials: boxes of nails and bags of cement; it takes lumber, paint, rebar, shingles, windows, doors and so much else. And it takes money.One should never undervalue the contributions of volunteer labor, of hammering a nail or serving .on an af liate committee; making sandwiches for on-site lunches or monitoring the rst-aid tent when temperatures soar above 90, says Fuller. None of that would be possible, however, without nancial contributions to pave the way for more and more .building. In his essay Con-siderations by the Way, Ralph Waldo Emerson said to make yourself necessary to somebody. Well, each time someone gives of his or her time or writes a check or offers support. .in any other way, they are making themselves necessary to a family con ned by poverty housing.

    These families needs are daunting. The United Nations estimates that 1.3 billion people in urban areas lack adequate shelter. In rural areas, the problem is even worse as 2.6 billion people en-dure inadequate housing, including shelter that forces families to pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing.While families in rural areas may not experience.

    A World in Need of Housing, Hope and Help

    Left:Meca and Luisa look at the damagaed caused by Hur-ricane Ivan.Photo by Terry Nichols

    By Melissa LaWanna

    Community Calendar

    Going Beyond U.S. BordersTranslating Habitats Mission for a World in Need

    As if the plane ride hadnt been enough of a clue, all the volunteers from Northern Ireland had to do to remember they were in a very different place was listen.

    Mortar? Try dhaga.

    Good morning? Emolweni.

    Party? Instead of the Gaelic ceilidh, it was imbizo.

    These 18 volunteer builders visited South Africa and experienced rst hand one of the challenges of Habitat for Humanity af liates separated by distance, climate and culture: What works for one location may not make sense in another.Yet, despite differences, Habitat af liates manage to

    maintain a uniform spirit by focusing on common principles instead of divergent methodologies and procedures. Outside the United States, af liate operations tend to center around three essential tasks, aside from construction, according to HFHI program support director Karan Kennedy: collect-ing house payments, raising funds and selecting families.

    Since a high repayment rate is one of the most visible indications that an af liate is doing well, af- liates often struggle to resist the urge to seek out middle-income homeowners who are more likely to have the resources to make timely payments. To work with truly low-income homeowners, af liates run the risk of selecting a family that may not be able to make payments in the face of illness or job loss.At Habitat for Humanity Los Tuxtlas in Mexico, each community manages a revolving loan fund made of members contributions and proceeds from community fund-raising activities. Members may use the fund to take out a temporary loan to cover their Habitat house payments in hard times.

    People are smart, Kennedy says. They under-stand that if they pay, someone else will get a house. The issue is why should they do it. The fact that people pay when they have so little means that they care for their neighbor. This process of mutual help and respect can be truly transformational for com-munities.

    Fund raising, even in very poor countries, can be accomplished with a little creativity. On the local level, af liates generate cash through bake sales

    and auctions, while in-kind donations supply materials. At a national level, corporate partner-ships, such as the partnership between Marriott and Habitat af liates in the Latin America/Carib-bean area, boost income as well as raise aware-ness of the organization. Marriott partnerships in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Guatemala have raised thousands of dol-lars while involving Marriott employees on the build site.Global Village trips are an increasingly popular way for af liates to raise funds, elevate public awareness of their activities and boost their construction capacity.

    Rosa Zakaria (left) and Yasin Juma, local committee members at Habitat for Humanity Igunga in Tanzania, discuss new training ma-terials that will support them in their efforts to reach more families in need.

    In Bulgaria, HFH So a executive director Atanas Petrov helps Stefan Enchev, 8, with his homework. Stefans parents have been approved for a Habitat house.

    Habitat Founder Speaks Around the WorldHabitat for Humanitys founder and president, Millard Fuller, travels widely around the world sharing Habitats message. Dates are subject to change. Please call ahead to con rm.

    Dec. 6-7 Geauga County HFH in Ohio. Call Arthur Krauer at (404) 564-5848 for more information.

    Jan. 8-10 Southeast Regional Conference in Jekyll Island, Ga. Call (800) 637-9532 for more information.

    Jan. 16-23 Building on the Dream. Locations around the United States. Call Victoria Peag-ler at (800) 422-4828, Ext. 2639, for more information.

    Tomorrows Humanity Leader Recipient

    Before becoming Habitat homeowners last year, the Skoneczny family lived the grim housing reality of many families in post-communist countries. The family of four lived in one tiny room within a 645-square-foot block at that housed six other people as well. Over-crowding is a common problem in Eastern European nations, as single-room ats often house multiple fami-lies. Under such circumstances, having the space to study was out of the question for Dominika, 10. Today, she not only has her own desk and space to study at home, but her bright, new primary school is just down the street from a tidy neighborhood of Habitat houses.

    Make a World of Difference: Find out how you can get involved with Habitat for Humanity.

    No matter your age, gender, creed, race or nationality, there is a place for you within Habitat. Please take a moment to review the opportunities below, let us know what interests you, and we will mail you relevant infor-mation. Or, call (800) HABITAT (422-4828) or visit www.

    Women BuildWomen crews build houses to help move families and children out of poverty. (800) HABITAT, ext. 270

    House building means team buildingCorporate Partners: Chal-lenge your colleagues to a Habitat house build. (800) HABITAT, ext. 2126

    Habitat for Humanity Publication NewsletterDec/Jan. 2005

    By Ramaula Dickson HumanityTodayHabitat for Humanity PublicationVolume 1 Issue 3

    Community Donates Supplies

    JC work Project Report 2004

    Womens Mission

    Habitat for Humanity


    Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house