Ravindra Valunj, a long-time resident of Khed in Pune, Maharashtra, experiences a swirl of emotions as he talks about his new home. There is a sense of gratitude towards everyone who helped him realise his dream, a sense of fulfilment now that he has a decent home and a quiet sense of pride that he’s been able to build a house for his supporting and loving family. There’s also a sense of humility and devotion to a higher power.

Their old home had suffered severe damage during Cyclone Tauktae in May 2021, leaving the family struggling to make ends meet with makeshift arrangements.

Habitat India stepped in to help low-income families in Khed, with support from CP Kelco, build 12 homes in Awhat village. Ravindra was one of the fortunate homeowners.

“It took three months to build the new home. I worked alongside other workers. I could not help but take part in the construction process. After all, it was my home that I was building,” says Ravindra with excitement. He also mentions how happy he is about the building materials, windows, doors and the quality of construction.

Before moving into the new home, Ravindra performed a puja. He points out some of his new belongings such as furniture, a TV and a clock that he received as gifts at the housewarming puja. Ravindra says that it is a mark of goodwill. “Whenever there is a puja anywhere, I always make it a point to give something according to our means. Even if it costs as little as Rs.25,” he further adds.

The new home came with modern amenities, including a toilet and bath facility. Ravindra used extra construction materials to build a small bench in the courtyard for people to gather and sit.

His younger daughter, fresh from her Class 12 exams, has ambitious plans for her future. “My daughter tells me that she wants to be independent, pursue higher education, seek job opportunities and take care of her wedding expenses by herself. I am hopeful that this home becomes the foundation of a better future for our family,” says Ravindra beaming with pride.