Habitat for Humanity India’s Mundar Redevelopment Project builds homes and communities, empowering flood-affected people to rebuild their lives.

The Mundar Redevelopment Project initiated by housing non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity India in partnership with HSBC India and Swayam Shikshan Prayog has rebuilt the lives of flood-affected families through disaster resilient housing and allied interventions in the village.

Mundar is an island in Kottayam district, Kerala. Spread over 10.12 square kilometers, it is surrounded and crisscrossed by backwaters, with most houses built along the waterways. Families use boats as the main means of transport, while majority of the 302 families work as daily wage labourers in agriculture, construction or transportation.

The village was one of the worst affected areas in the 2018 floods in Kerala. Over 100 families were severely affected, with many losing their houses and livelihoods.

The Mundar Redevelopment Project was launched in January 2019. Over the last two and a half years, Habitat India has fostered the holistic growth of the village by building new disaster resilient homes, repairing damaged houses, rebuilding community infrastructure and providing women with livelihood opportunities.

The handover of the project was held on 27th December in the presence of dignitaries from Habitat for Humanity India, HSBC India and Swayam Shikshan Prayog, with Ms. C.K. Asha, Member of Legislative Assembly – Vaikom Constituency as the Chief Guest on the occasion.

“Habitat for Humanity’s disaster response approach is called ‘Pathways to Permanence’ because we place the disaster affected families on a path to durable and permanent shelter solutions. Healthy homes and economic recovery are crucial in a post pandemic world. Through the Mundar Redevelopment Project, we have rebuilt the lives of people by building disaster resilient homes and empowered them to become entrepreneurs. We are grateful to HSBC India and Swayam Shikshan Prayog for their support,” said Dr. Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India.

26 flood-affected families who now live in their new disaster resilient homes have already experienced the safety and security a home provides during the monsoon this year. 141 damaged homes have been repaired. All newly built homes are equipped with sanitation units. Redevelopment of the village also includes providing families access to solar energy through 286 household lighting systems, 120 water purifiers, installing 41 overhead water tanks and training 362 individuals in Community Based Disaster Risk Management, health and hygiene.

The emphasis has also been on rebuilding community infrastructure through the construction of an anganwadi centre, repairing the main road and community sanitation unit, the construction of 10 concrete foot overbridges as well as installation of 75 solar street lights and 2 RO water plants. Providing livelihood opportunities for the villagers especially for women is a unique aspect of this holistic project. Women leaders were identified and empowered to form 12 Self-Help Groups (SHGs) which now run successful micro-businesses such as catering, tailoring and grocery shops. Initiatives such as training in masonry, tailoring, summer crop farming, the distribution of chicks, quails, goats and cows to 223 families and the repair and construction of 30 cow sheds, have given a fillip to the village economy.

“In addition to a new home, we were provided with livelihood support in the form of masonry training, quails, chicks, and employment on construction sites. The income we receive is a great support to look after our needs and my children’s education,” said Saraswathy Lally a Habitat homeowner from Mundar.

The Mundar Development Project in Kerala is the second holistic disaster response project undertaken in partnership by HSBC India and Habitat for Humanity India. HSBC India and Habitat India had joined hands previously to build a model village in Pedda Bidda, Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh which was devastated by Cyclone Hudhud in 2014.

Habitat India has served 1,76,052 families in Kerala in the aftermath of the devastating floods of August 2018 in a phase-wise manner. In the first phase, we provided immediate relief to the families through humanitarian aid kits, tools bank and conditional cash transfers. In phase two, we supported families by helping them build transitional shelters. In the third phase, we have helped families build disaster resilient homes, sanitation units, conducted home repairs, restored people’s livelihood, trained families on disaster risk management and provided shelter related solutions through housing support services in collaboration with the local administration.