1. What is Habitat for Humanity International?
Habitat for Humanity International is a global, non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to ending substandard housing and homelessness worldwide. Founded in 1976 by late Millard Fuller, HFHI works with people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses in partnership with families in need. Its operational headquarters are located in Americus, Georgia, USA.
2. What is Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh?
Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh is a branch of HFH International that was established in 1999 in Mymensingh, and has since increased its services to 10 locations around the country. It works in mainly rural programs involving new home constructions, renovations, repairs, disaster response and mitigation, training on water, sanitation and hygiene practices and appropriate construction technology, as well as innovative research on alternative low-cost housing solutions.The organization’s aim is to break the cycle of poverty that comes with poorly-constructed homes in Bangladesh. HFH Bangladesh conducts its activities through its National Office, Habitat Resource Centers (HRCs), satellite offices, volunteers and in partnership with other NGOs throughout the country.
3. What is the role of the National Office?
Habitat’s work in a country is coordinated and supported by a national Habitat office, staffed by experts in construction technology, financial management, marketing and fundraising. A national advisory board provides support to achieve the strategic directions of the country program. In Bangladesh, Habitat operates under its National Office in collaboration with three HRCs and nine satellite offices.
4. What is the role of a Habitat Resource Center?
A Habitat Resource Center (HRC) broadens the reach of Habitat’s home-building programs. An HRC may be a physical structure or a network of specialists offering support and resources. Centers provides expertise in one or more of such areas as project and construction management; research on appropriate technology including the production of cost effective, high-quality building materials, and providing construction skills training to local people. They also respond to disasters and provide housing microfinance expertise. HRCs provide services to Habitat satellite offices, partner organizations as well as Habitat home partners and communities. Satellites focus on identifying local housing needs, mobilizing resources to deliver housing solutions, raising awareness, providing training to communities and hosting volunteer builds.
5. How many people does Habitat for Humanity help each year?
Every 21 minutes, a family has a better home thanks to Habitat for Humanity, its volunteers and partners. Since 1976, HFH International has built, renovated and repaired well over 400,000 homes around the world, providing more than 2 million people in countries and territories across six continents with safe, decent and affordable shelter. Habitat for Humanity served a record 74,960 families worldwide in the financial year to 30th June 2010. Habitat also helped tens of thousands more people establish legal rights to a house or land, or with technical assistance ranging from legal help to construction advice or training.
6. What does Habitat for Humanity do in the Asia-Pacific region?
Habitat for Humanity began working in the Asia-Pacific region in 1983 with a pilot program in India. The organization has built, renovated and repaired more than 105,000 homes and served more than 530,000 people around the region (as of June 2010). Habitat currently has operations in Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste (East Timor), Vanuatu and Vietnam. In Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, Habitat is involved in fundraising, advocacy and organizing volunteers, along with some limited local repair and home improvement activities. Habitat’s Asia-Pacific office is located in Bangkok, Thailand.
7. How does Habitat’s “No Profit” housing partnership work with homeowners?
Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of homeowner (or known as ‘partner’) families, volunteer labor and donations of money and materials. Habitat houses are not free, but are sold to families at no profit and financed through long-term, affordable loans. Home partners also invest their own labor known as “sweat equity” to construct their homes. In some areas Habitat works directly with the families to provide financial and technical support for housing. In other areas Habitat works through local NGOs or Community Organizations that have microfinance initiatives already operating.
8. Do You Have To Be A Christian To Be A Habitat Homeowner?
Habitat works with people of all faiths and no faith. Homeowners are selected based on their level of need, their ability to repay the loan and their willingness to work in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat follows a non-discriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing families to become Habitat homeowners.
9. How are partner families selected?
Families in need of decent shelter apply for Habitat loans through Habitat’s local satellite offices or partner organizations. Habitat selects homeowners based on their need for adequate housing and their ability to repay the home loans. In Habitat’s mission to serve disadvantaged families improve their housing, all of HFH Bangladesh’s homeowners fall under the USD$2 a day poverty line.
10. How much does a Habitat house cost in Bangladesh?
In Bangladesh, the total cost of delivering a basic new core home is around USD$1,400. HFH Bangladesh provides a long term no-profit loan of 6 years to repay the cost of the house. In addition to building new homes, Habitat also offers home improvement options to serve families in need of major or minor renovations to their existing structures.
11. Why use housing microfinance?
Housing microfinance method, whether operated by Habitat or specialist microfinance partner groups, allow more families to build new houses or accept services to repair homes incrementally. It is ideal for families, such as those reliant on seasonal or informal work, who otherwise would not meet conventional criteria for a home loan. Habitat loans provide opportunities for poor families take out a small first loan to make crucial renovations or repairs to an existing property. Once the loan is repaid, new loans are taken out to finance subsequent stages of the work.
12. Does Habitat for Humanity respond to disasters?
Across the Asia-Pacific region, Habitat for Humanity responds to natural and man-made disasters. Habitat focuses on working with local communities and governments to provide permanent or transitional housing solutions to those whose lives have been afflicted by catastrophe. Many families often lose their livelihoods in a disaster so, unlike in regular Habitat programs, they are not in a position to repay loans. However, families are encouraged to contribute materials and “sweat equity” in rebuilding their homes and communities. In Bangladesh, HFHB built 480 transitional shelters in response to the devastating 2007 Cyclone Sidr and a further 120 shelters after the South Asian floods of 2007.
13. What is Habitat’s role in disaster mitigation and risk reduction?
Habitat is engaged not only to mitigate or reduce the devastating effect of a disaster, but also to protect dwellings and families from the effects of future calamities. This mitigation work takes the form of rebuilding to higher standards with quality materials and designs as well as strengthening the structures of existing homes, technical training, and educating families and communities how best to prepare for and respond to a disaster.
14. How does Habitat make use of volunteers?
Habitat is known globally for the tangible, hands-on construction experience it offers tens of thousands of volunteers every year. The “muscle” these volunteers provide makes it possible for homes to be built at considerably lower costs. More importantly, the experience transforms lives, both for the volunteers who work alongside Habitat home partners and for partner families who see “outsiders” that care. Typical tasks that volunteers do on the construction sites include carrying sand and bricks, making mortar, laying bricks, leveling sand floors, chiseling bricks out of the walls and roofing.
15. Who volunteers for Habitat?
Anyone who can hold a hammer or a bucket or a spade is welcome. Build teams come from within Bangladesh and overseas, representing business corporations, churches, schools, universities, civic groups and other organizations. Individual volunteers can also contribute in non-construction roles such as serving on the Board of Directors, becoming a Habitat Goodwill Ambassador, or simply helping at Habitat offices. Since HFH Bangladesh’s inception, volunteers from within Bangladesh and Global Village volunteers from China, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK, Ireland and the United States have donated thousands of hours of labor and contributed financially towards safe, hygienic and durable housing for Habitat families.
16. What Is Global Village?
Global Village is Habitat’s principal overseas volunteer program. Global Village offers volunteers the opportunity to take part in the “hands-on” construction or renovation of houses in more than 40 countries around the world, 16 of which are in the Asia-Pacific region. Teams of 10-15 volunteers travel to their chosen host country to build in partnership with local people, learn about local housing needs and become a part of their host’s community. Global Village trips typically last five days to two weeks. Volunteers experience a unique camaraderie and build lasting friendships with fellow team members, and with Habitat home partner families.
17. What are Habitat Youth Programs?
Habitat encourages young people to promote creative and responsible ways to support Habitat's mission. Student or youth-run Habitat chapters organize events to educate their campuses and local communities about affordable housing issues and the work of Habitat for Humanity. They raise funds and also take part in building activities either locally or through international volunteer trips. There are more than 900 chapters operating in 30 countries and territories around the world; 40 chapters in the Asia-Pacific region and 3 in Bangladesh.
18. What is former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s role with Habitat for Humanity?
Every year since 1984, former U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter has donated one week of his time – and his building skills – to Habitat. Each year, he and his wife Rosalynn lead a major volunteer building event that attracts thousands of volunteers. The 2009 Jimmy Carter Work Project took place in the Mekong region of Asia, in areas including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, as well as China’s Sichuan Province. Previous Jimmy Carter Work Projects have included builds in western India (2006), South Korea (2001), the Philippines (1999) and in Thailand (2009).
19. How are donations distributed and used?
Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh accepts undesignated and designated donations in money, gifts and in kind. Undesignated givings are used where needed. Other donations are distributed as designated by the donor. These funds are crucial in allowing Habitat to serve the many low-income families of Bangladesh to build simple, decent, affordable homes that change lives.
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