Every year from December to April, youngsters across India engage in various volunteering, advocacy, fundraising and awareness raising activities in support of affordable housing to help families achieve strength, stability and self-reliance under Habitat Young Leaders Build (HYLB) campaign. Launched in 2012, millions of youth in India have answered the call to be proactive home and community builders through HYLB focusing on the need for affordable housing and improved sanitation for all.

The pan-India Handwashing campaign has been one of the significant highlights of HYLB. Introduced first in 2016 edition of HYLB, the campaign spreads awareness about the importance of life saving practice of handwashing, hand hygiene and how it contributes to a healthy life.

Multiple awareness drives have been conducted across the country in schools, colleges, universities, communities and public places including the iconic Howrah Bridge at Kolkata (West Bengal).

The Kolkata awareness drive was one of the biggest wherein local orgnisations Don Bosco Technical Institute, Palli Unnayan Samiti Baruipur, Indranarayanpur Nazrul Samiti Sangha, Kolkata Christian Fellowship and Nishtha collaborated with Habitat India. They were joined by 200 students trained by Habitat on hand washing methodology. The team served women, men, youth, adolescent girls, shopkeepers, street vendors from Howrah Railway Station, local flower markers, boat jetty, bus station and other public places with an aim to educate them about the right hygiene habits starting with handwashing. The awareness drive touched over 5.2 lakh individuals across Kolkata starting a chain reaction for a handwashing movement across India.

Many Habitat India staff went beyond the call of duty, with young Habitat staff family members involved, from sons and daughters as young as eight years old, to teenagers organizing fundraisers and spreading awareness among their peer groups. The infectious excitement surrounding the handwash campaign gripped those who heard of it, and they too were encouraged to spread awareness on their part.

Till date, the handwashing campaign has impacted over 10 lakh individuals across India.

“India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25. We believe in the potential of these youngsters to build a better India by providing underprivileged families with affordable homes and improved sanitation. We want to engage the youth in a shared vision of creating homes where families can take better care of each other and enjoy access to better health, clean water, improved sanitation and a decent place to live. We also thank our partner organisations and countless volunteers who continue to support us across the country,” said Dr. Rajan Samuel, Managing Director of Habitat for Humanity India.

Adequate, safe, affordable housing and sanitation are the basic needs covered under Goal 11 and Goal 6 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Habitat for Humanity takes on this challenge in partnership with governments, businesses and communities, including the youth.