Balu Murmu lives in Balachonda village, Kanksha Block, Pashchim Bardhaman with his daughter and son-in-law. Balu’s family is part of the Santhal tribe that populates the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Assam. The livelihood of the tribe is dependent on hunting, fishing and cultivation.

Balu was getting old and with no constant source of income, the burden of taking care of the house fell on his daughter and son-in-law, who began to work as daily wage labourers to make ends meet. Their old house was giving way slowly, developing cracks in the walls. In strong winds or harsh weather conditions, the thatched roof would blow away. Moreover, the house lacked ventilation, and with addition of two grandchildren, the space was not sufficient for the family.

Habitat India in partnership with B. D. Bangur Endowment supported Balu to build a decent, safe home for his daughter and his grandchildren. After the completion of the house, the entire family was overwhelmed at the sight of their new home. “My family now has a permanent roof over their head. This is one big worry off my shoulders,” said Balu.

The house has an additional kitchen garden that will help the family grow vegetables for their own consumption, and even to contribute to their family income. With the provision of a sanitation unit in the house, the family also does not have to worry about open defecation.