India Inc. to help build homes for the poor and needy

Over 50 business leaders attend the CEO Conclave organised by Habitat for Humanity India

India CSR News Network

MUMBAI: In a rare gesture of solidarity, over 50 CEOs from India committed to work together and pledged support to several initiatives by Habitat for Humanity India – a non-profit organization – working towards eliminating substandard poverty housing and open defecation in India.

A clear roadmap has been established where corporate India, through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds and initiatives, will work with Habitat for Humanity India in building homes and sanitation units for those in dire need for improved housing and sanitation facilities. 

The day-long event culminated in the program – ‘Impact Asia and India Builders Night’ and included a charity auction of sports and film memorabilia in aid of widows of the famine-struck regions of Maharashtra. The auction included signed boxing gloves of MC Mary Kom, signed guitar by The Beatles legend Paul McCartney, First Day Cover on World Aids Day signed by Nelson Mandela, signed boxing robe of Muhammed Ali, A football jersey signed by entire Barcelona Football Team and football shoe signed by the legendary football player Lionel Messi.

Speaking on the occasion Mrs. Rajashree Birla, Chairperson – The Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development and Chairperson of Habitat’s IndiaBUILDS Advisory Committee said, “A decent roof over one’s head is the most important factor for a human being. A home gives a tremendous sense of security, spurs education, lays the foundation of a sustainable livelihood and builds a fine family. In India, the housing scenario is a matter of concern. We need 50 million houses in India, of which, 25 million units are required in urban India alone. We, at Habitat for Humanity, endeavor to bridge this gap, albeit in a very small way. We are committed to cross the 100,000 homes for the homeless by 2020,”

At this conclave, heads of companies such as Eicher Motors, GSK, Mphasis, Willis Processing India, shared their views and showed commitment to eliminate the issue of substandard poverty housing and open defecation by joining hands with Habitat for Humanity India.

Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India said, “We intend to unite all the decision makers, thought leaders and influencers to discuss issues related to local and regional poverty housing. The discussion by intelligentsias will stir a debate on serious challenges of housing and sanitation. Through this, the identification of the problems stemming on poverty housing will help to come up with solution which in turn will drive systemic policy change. At Habitat we are committed to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter”.

Besides sanitation and poverty housing, the representatives of government agencies, academia, poverty-reducing groups, housing organisations, volunteers and business leaders discussed that how they can create a unique business model which can attract the institutional partnership and can plug the affordability gap.

The charity event was sponsored by the Aditya Birla Group, Reliance Industries Limited, KKR – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Citi India and ASK Group.

The event also marked the end of Habitat Week; a series of programs organized by Habitat for Humanity India in Delhi and Mumbai from October 2 to October 7, 2016 to mark the UN World Habitat Day celebrated to reflect on the basic human right to adequate shelter. Habitat’s work is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and focuses on the call to “ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and to upgrade slums.”

Habitat for Humanity India works in the rural, tribal and urban areas of over 20 states of the country to provide improved shelter and sanitation facilities to the families in need. Among its recent initiatives, Habitat India has collaborated with the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and World Vision India to build better civic amenities, improved sanitation, hygiene and waste management facilities for developing the infrastructure in nine slums known as jhuggi jhopadi clusters.

In the Adarsh Basti Project initiated by the Government of Delhi, Habitat for Humanity India has been identified as the nodal agency to improve the living conditions of over 33,000 people living in these nine jhuggi jhopadi clusters. Habitat for Humanity India will serve as a bridge between the local community and the government departments to deliver enhanced services for the urban poor.

In Savda Ghevra, an urban resettlement colony of Delhi, resettled families from various slums have been provided with individual household latrines in their newly constructed houses.

In Mumbai, Habitat for Humanity India has entered into a partnership with the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) for constructing 10 community sanitation complexes. One such sanitation complex was inaugurated in Thane. Habitat has also undertaken school sanitation projects in Rajasthan, Bangalore, Delhi, Maharashtra and Haryana impacting over 10,000 children.