Sujata's determination for self-reliance⠀
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We Build | September 2023
We Build: September 2023


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Habitat for Humanity India!

As we step into the September edition of We Build, our monthly newsletter, I am filled with hope reflecting on the remarkable strides Habitat India continues to make and the possibilities in store for us. Your steadfast support has been the cornerstone of our impact, bringing tangible change to countless families throughout India.

From homes built to lives transformed, each endeavor we undertake is a testament to the power of unity and compassion. In this season of change, as nature paints vibrant landscapes, we too are colouring lives with hope and opportunity.

A safe, decent home is the foundation upon which lives flourish. It's a place where dreams are nurtured, and communities empowered.

On 1st September 2023, Habitat India is organising an Urban Dialogue on Policy Solutions for Adequate Housing to Build Inclusive and Resilient Urban Settlements in New Delhi. The event brings together stakeholders, policymakers, and experts in a collaborative effort to provide a platform for robust discussions and innovative thinking around urban housing policies and solutions.

Thank you for being the driving force behind the positive transformation we are achieving. Together, we are scripting stories of brighter futures and stronger communities.

Dr. Rajan Samuel, MD

In partnership,

James Samuel
National Director (Interim)
Habitat for Humanity India

Voices From The Field
Voices from Field

Sujata Parida, Odisha

After crossing a thick forest patch, a narrow motorable road leads to Bada Kurumatangar village. All the houses in the village are scattered and are surrounded by trees. The women of Shaktima Kalijai SHG welcome you with a smile. Sujata Parida is the founder of the SHG. She lives in a joint family of 8 members including her son Ashish and elder daughter Archita.

In 2017, 11 years after her marriage, Sujata lost her husband Abhimanyu - a driver by profession - in a fatal accident. Abhimanyu’s tragic death shattered her dreams of a happy married life and of a complete family. Government’s monthly widow pension of INR 500 was not enough to give a good education and living to her children.

Briefly aware of Mission Shakti, the apex body of an all women Self Help Group started by the Odisha Government in 2011, Sujata mustered the courage to form an SHG of 11 members. Habitat India trained the members of the self-help group and helped them set up an enterprise to make incense sticks (agarbattis). The women were provided with the machinery and trained extensively. They are now selling the incense sticks locally. In a month an SHG can produce upto 200 kgs of incense sticks. They are then packed in different sizes priced at INR 10 to INR 100. Each woman can earn upto INR 1500 through this enterprise.

“We did not get any skill or technical training from anywhere after forming our SHG. Thankfully Habitat for Humanity India approached us,” says Sujata. “Now, we want to buy an automatic machine to upscale our production and provide more variety to customers. We are also thinking of starting mushroom farming”, Sujata decodes her plan for the future.

The presence of wild elephants is common in the forest adjoining her house. But that does not scare her. In the late evenings, she steps out with a torch to bring her son back from the school. It is this courage that has helped her fight many of life’s battles. The success of the enterprise has given her the confidence and self-reliance she needs to build a better life for her family.

“I do not want to be dependent on my in-laws or feel helpless for the rest of my life. I want to give my children a good education and a better life,” Sujata exerts with confidence.

Sujata’s story is one of many from Habitat India’s Empowering Women Through Livelihood Opportunities project which has given a new lease of life to 969 women in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha. The project is supported by Standard Chartered Bank under its Futuremakers Program. Phase two of this project is ongoing in Maharashtra and Odisha.

Key Updates

Project Nirmanshree State Level Workshop in Maharashtra

Project Nirmanshree State Level Workshop in Maharashtra

Policies influencing the participation of women in the construction sector, gender equality, raising awareness about women’s rights and formation of Women’s Collectives for building their capacity were the emerging themes from the state level workshop on ‘Women in the Construction Sector’ organised by Habitat for Humanity India, a leading housing non-profit organisation.

Oganised in Beed, the workshop was attended by Dr. Arundhati Patil, Professor, Manavlok Collage of Social Science; Shri. Khade, District Officer Economic Development Corporation; Shri. Nitin Chavan, District Labour Officer; Shri. T. S. Yadav, District Officer, District Industries Centre; Shri. Sunil Gaikwad, District Officer, District Industries Centre; district level officials from Beed and Osmanabad districts, partner NGOs and members from Nirmanshree Women Collectives.

In June 2023, a similar state level workshop was organized in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Habitat for Humanity India is implementing Project Nirmanshree to empower women economically and socially through technical and enterprise training and support in construction sector. Funded by the European Union, Project Nirmanshree is implemented in Odisha (Dhenkanal and Jajpur districts) and Maharashtra (Osmanabad and Beed districts). Through the project, Habitat India has trained 3007 women to develop their skills and entrepreneurial capacities enabling them achieve strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better future for themselves and their families.

Urban Dialogue: Policy Solutions for Affordable Housing

Urban Dialogue: Policy Solutions for Affordable Housing

Habitat India is set to organise an ‘Urban Dialogue’ on ‘Policy Solutions for Adequate Housing to Build Inclusive and Resilient Urban Settlements’ on 1st September 2023 at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The event aims to bring together stakeholders, policymakers, and experts in a collaborative effort to provide a platform for robust discussions and innovative thinking around urban housing policies and solutions.

The primary aim of the Urban Dialogue is to develop innovative policy solutions that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promote inclusive urban housing. Through a constructive dialogue, the event intends to bridge policy gaps and identify replicable best practices that can be scaled up for wider impact. Furthermore, by fostering collaboration among diverse stakeholders, the event strives to lay the foundation for comprehensive interventions that elevate the quality of life for urban communities, encompassing aspects of health, livelihood, and well-being. Ultimately, the Urban Dialogue seeks to contribute to the establishment of sustainable, resilient, and equitable urban settlements that can accommodate the evolving urban landscape of India.

For more information about the Urban Dialogue, please visit:

Race with a Purpose: Tata Mumbai Marathon 2024 x Habitat for Humanity India

Race with a Purpose: Tata Mumbai Marathon 2024 x Habitat for Humanity India

Race with a Purpose: Are you ready to lace up your sneakers for a truly impactful cause? Join us as we take strides towards making a difference in the lives of families in need of decent housing. Habitat for Humanity India invites you to be part of the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2024. As you race through the vibrant streets of Mumbai, remember that every step you take is contributing to building homes, creating stability, and transforming lives. Your participation will help us provide families with a foundation for a brighter future. To register or learn more about this opportunity, reach out to Wajed Syed, at +91 86249 62899 or email [email protected]  

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