Families of four martyred soldiers from Sainik Takli and Kaulav village, Kolhapur district will now move one step closer to having a home of their own under Habitat for Heroes initiative, a housing project of the leading global non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity.

This was announced by Mrs. Rajashree Birla of The Aditya Birla Group and Chairperson of Habitat for Humanity India’s Advisory Committee at the groundbreaking ceremony on October 21. She dedicated the homes to the families virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“When my husband was martyred in 2001, our family was distraught. We were trying to get back on our feet but the floods last year destroyed our home. Habitat for HumanityIndia helped us survive and we will soon have a home of our own. During the pandemic, this home can also protect us from the virus,” said Archana Birange, wife of Shahid Nayak Arjun Birange, at the ceremony.

Archana hails from Sainik Takli village, where at least one member from every family is serving in the Indian Army. Along with Archana, Geetanjali Charapale, Akkatai Mane and Vijutai Chaware will realize their dream of building a new home.

The groundbreaking ceremony marked the milestone of Habitat for Humanity’s COVID-19 Response serving 1.1 million individuals.

“We record this milestone today of serving 1.1 million people across 19 states of India who would have been upended by COVID-19. We also honor the lives of martyrs Arjun Birange, Swapnil Charapale, Shashikant Mane, and Nigappa Chaware for their sacrifice. Their families start the journey towards building a home of their own in partnership with Habitat for Humanity,” said Rajashree Birla while speaking at the ceremony. Under her stewardship, the Aditya Birla Group has helped build over 4000 homes and has invested over 4 million dollars in Habitat for Humanity’s housing and sanitation projects in India and across the globe over the last 2 decades. The homes of martyrs’ families are funded by R. Ramakrishnan, D.T. Thomas, Charandeep Singh, Ashish Kacholia, and D.C. Patel, among others.R. Ramakrishnan, Managing Partner, Transformia Advisors LLP raised money for the houses through crowdfunding after playing Habitat’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament in December 2019.

In the past 217 days, Habitat for humanity Indiahasserved over 11,07,452 people from 19 states by providing them with 4,05,892 hygiene and essential kits. As many as 1,47,200 people have been supported with conditional cash transfers and 64,636 people have been trained in hygiene habits. Twelve COVID-19 Care Centres with 1375 beds have been set up to shelter people in isolation.“Our lives are indebted to the heroes who fight in inhospitable terrains to protect our country. The Habitat for Heroes project is our homage to the martyred soldiers. We are committed to providing sustainable housing solutions to their families,” said Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India.

Benefactors of Habitat’s COVID-19 Response include65 corporates, 34,480 individuals, and 1,903 students. 57 grassroots partners, 1,381 volunteers, and 29 government departments have helped reach out to families across the country.