Nita Shinde lives in Khed, Pune district, Maharashtra, with her 12-year-old daughter Siddhi. Nita's life has been marked by hardship and resilience. After facing harassment and domestic violence at her in-laws' place, she returned to her maternal home, only to find herself living in her brother’s cowshed.

"I set up tin sheets and created a makeshift shelter," Nita recalls. "I built mud walls with my own hands, but the constant rains damaged the already weak structure. The roof leaked, and our belongings, including my daughter's schoolbag, books, and clothes, would get drenched and dirty. We lived in a space that was wet, damp, and cold—a breeding ground for diseases. It was extremely dangerous and uncomfortable."

One harrowing experience still stands out in Nita's memory. "One day, while my daughter was studying in a corner, I heard her scream. I rushed out to see a huge snake. It could have attacked my daughter at any moment. We were terrified but managed to whisk it away with the help of our neighbors. But the snakes kept coming, and it was clear that our makeshift home was not safe."

Despite these challenges, Nita's daughter, Siddhi, excels in her studies, often standing first in her class. "Siddhi loves studying, but the lack of electricity and the unsafe environment made it difficult for her," Nita says.

Desperate for a solution, Nita sought help from the village head, who introduced her to Habitat for Humanity. "The organization collected some documents from me, and I was later informed that a home would be built for me. I was so happy that I didn't know how to react. Now, when I see the new home, I pinch myself to see if it's a dream or reality!"

Nita actively participated in the construction of her new home. "I didn't have enough money, but I did construction work alongside the other workers. I made sure the laborers had tea, water, and refreshments whenever they needed."

The new home has transformed their lives. "In the new home, I feel safer. We have a toilet and bathroom, and water storage facilities. It's a big relief."

Siddhi can now study without distractions. "We have access to electricity, and even if it rains or the weather is harsh, we are protected because we have a roof over our heads. With access to solar power, the power issues are also resolved. There won’t be any interruptions for her—no worries about her books and schoolbag getting soiled. She has a safe place to study."

Nita dreams of making her daughter independent and educated. "Siddhi is very clever and good in studies, especially Mathematics. I want to educate her and make her a Chartered Accountant. My husband and in-laws underestimated us; looked down upon us, but I want to show the world what my daughter and I are capable of."

Working as an agricultural laborer, Nita earns 200 rupees per day. "In this, I have to manage household expenses and her education. I don't have enough money for her future education, but I will do whatever it takes to give her a better future and make her self-reliant. This home has given me hope and a foundation to see and realize bigger dreams."

Nita reflects on her journey with gratitude. "My home is just me and my daughter. We both love each other a lot. I wish my parents were around to see this. They would have been happy. But they are no more, and I miss them. So, it's just the two of us who have each other's back. This is our world, and now our home is part of our world."

"For me, home is the most valuable thing in the world. Home equals a dream. Home equals safety and security. It was always a distant, elusive dream for me. I always used to see beautiful homes built by others in the neighborhood, and it made me sad looking at the condition of my house. I never felt safe in my house. In the new home, I live without any fear. I can sleep peacefully. It's a safe haven for us both. I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams that I could build a home on my own."

Nita's story is a testament to the transformative power of a safe and secure home, not just as a physical structure, but as a foundation for dreams and a better future.

Nita is one of the homeowners of the holistic housing and sanitation project supported by LG India wherein 34 families have built new homes and 80 families have built new household sanitation units in partnership with Habitat for Humanity India in Maharashtra (Pune) and Uttar Pradesh (Ghaziabad).