Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Give A Lifetime Gift

Give a Lifetime Gift - Partner with Habitat Bangladesh.

As appeared in American Chamber Of Commerce Magazine Bangladesh.

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Height Of Innovation

Check out the latest in "Habitat World" on Habitat Bangladesh's work with alternative housing solutions.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Volunteer with Habitat Bangladesh - a message from HFHIB National Director

Greetings from Habitat Bangladesh!

Thank you for taking the opportunity to read through the Habitat Bangladesh volunteers newsletter; volunteers are the lifeblood of our program, allowing us to continue to provide safe, decent, affordable housing to over 1,700 families since 1999. To put that into perspective, since volunteers became a standard part of our operating procedure, Habitat Bangladesh has lifted its capacity to build homes from 14 in the 2000 financial year to over 600 in 2008. That’s a remarkable achievement, which is now reflected in our target of over 700 homes in 2009 alone!

This past year we have been fortunate to welcome 10 Global Village Teams, and host a further 7 Local Volunteer Teams at builds around the country. In addition, our partnership with Christian Aid Ministries for our Cyclone Rehabilitation Project sees us welcoming new groups of volunteers every 2 weeks.

Our Volunteer manager, Prince Sanjay Saha, and his team ensure the safety and comfort of every member of every team; read through some of the testimonials, and you can easily see how we constantly achieve outstanding hosting reports.

From working in villages with the poorest of the poor, playing and sharing with local children, to touring this amazing country, Habitat Bangladesh can offer you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Our volunteers are not just short term. Currently we have Pierre Johannessen, an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development, working with us in the National Office, completing the 10th month of his year-long commitment to Habitat Bangladesh, while also welcoming a new AYAD, Monica Gray. Pierre has been working with Habitat Bangladesh since September 2007, engaged in all aspects of our work, from Cyclone Assessment and Rehabilitation, to Monitoring and Evaluation, to communications and policy and procedure.

There are many opportunities to be involved with Habitat Bangladesh, it’s as easy as contacting us!

Our internship program is also developing quite quickly. Anna Allen from Singapore joined the team for 3 weeks in June, and currently Maggie DeCosse and Charlene Lee are working with the Resource Development and Public Relations team until August.

I sincerely hope you take advantage of the opportunity to volunteer for Habitat Bangladesh. We look forward to welcoming you soon!

Kelly Koch
National Director
Habitat for Humanity International, Bangladesh
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Join a Global Village Team to build in Bangladesh!

Hi ! my name is Sanjay, and I am the Volunteer Programs Manager of Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh. I have experience of hosting volunteers for the last 5 years. Bangladesh is an amazing country, people are very kind and they love to host.

We need your support to eliminate homelessness from this developing country.

I salute your dedication and commitment of giving a hand to the people in need. Community and culture in Bangladesh is different from the other world. I believe you will have a life changing experience here.

You are always welcome to Bangladesh to make a difference!

Prince Sanjay Saha
Manager, Marketing & Volunteer Programs

For information on Global Village Teams, click here.

To contact the Volunteer Programs Manager, click here.

To see how you can get involved in Bangladesh, click here.

Habitat for Humanity Program Milestones 2007

Report just released on the Program Milestones of 2007.

Available for download here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News from Habitat Asia Pacific - July 8

Habitat For Humanity CEO Visits Cyclone Response Project, Speaks At South Asia Leadership Conference In Bangladesh At Start Of Six-Country Asia Tour.

Click Here for story.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Delta Brac Housing and Habitat Bangladesh form Partnership

On April 17th, Delta Brac Housing and Habitat Bangladesh declared a partnership agreement to support Habitat's house building activities for low-income people.

In FY08, DBH has sponsored 3 homes as part of Habitat's Save and Build Program.

Mr Q.A Shariful Ala, Managing Director, and Mr Dominic D Cruze, Communications and Customer Service Manager, visited Habitat's offices to personally make the donation to Habitat's National Director.

From the signed Memorandum of Acceptance:

“DBH seeks to strengthen the society of the country by continually expanding
home ownership and participate in various events where the low income community
in general will be benefited and own a low cost decent home.”

The Save and Build Program is the core activity of Habitat Bangladesh, helping those most at need develop savings habits, purchase materials for their homes, and help build both their and their communities' homes, all under the supervision and assistance of Habitat Bangladesh.

For Corporate CSR Opportunities, please contact our Resource Development Manager.

New Habitat Bangladesh Polo Shirts

Our own wonderful Sanjay Saha, Volunteer Programs Manager, and Rocky Roy, Volunteer Programs Coordinator, model our latest Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh Polo Shirts.

Available in White and Blue, these shirts are 100% Cotton, Made In Bangladesh, and sport our Logo and Tagline: Building Homes, Changing Lives...

The shirts are available in all sizes, small to XL, and can be yours for only 200 taka each!

Contact our Public Relations and Resource Development team to order yours today!
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Community Youth Group created in Mymenshing!

A committee of the new CYG (Community Youth Group) has successfully been formed at Mymenshing satellite on the 6th July 2008. The youth group had been supporting the Mymensingh satellite for the past two years.

27 students from various universities attended the gathering with local Habitat staff.

Rocky Roy, Volunteer Co-ordinator and Prince Sanjay, Volunteer Programs Manager met the youth group at this occasion; they were delighted at the enthusiasm and passion of the group, and wish them well in their partnership with Habitat Bangladesh.

Want to be a Habitat Volunteer? Click here!
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Families Served As Of June 2008

  1. HFHI-B Bangladesh completed building 642 houses in FY 2008 which included 370 houses under regular S & B program and 272 under DR projects
  2. As of June 2008 HFHI-B served a total of 1,706 families in Bangladesh
  3. Nation wide 141 houses completed in June 08
  4. Repayment rate increased to 81%

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Message from newly appointed National Director of Habitat Bangladesh

This has been a challenging year for Habitat Bangladesh; perennial floods and a horrific cyclone have kept all in the Development sector scrambling to fulfill the needs of one of the world’s poorest countries.

Yet through the challenges, Habitat Bangladesh has shown time and again that it can meet, and more importantly, rise above the difficulties modern development presents.

This year, Habitat Bangladesh built 122 homes in Bhuapur Tangail, as part of our Flood Rehabilitation Project.

We are currently building Transitional Shelters in Patuakhali, as part of our Cyclone Rehabilitation Project.

In this current financial year, we have built 372 homes as part of our Save and Build program, a significant achievement considering the impact of Cyclone Sidr not only on financial resources, but personnel as well. In all, Habitat Bangladesh has built a grand total of 642 homes this year, bringing the total number of families served in Bangladesh up to 1,706 since 1999.

I am therefore delighted to be taking over an organization that shows so much resilience and dedication in their work, especially one so committed to the values and ethics of the Habitat for Humanity family.

Together with donors, volunteers, our Advisory Board and our wonderful staff and partner families, I am looking forward to the continued growth and success of Habitat for Humanity International Bangladesh.

My best wishes to you all,

Kelly Koch
National Director,
Habitat for Humanity International Bangladesh
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Jonathan Reckford visit to Mirzaganj

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Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford spends six hours at the Cyclone SIDR Rehabilitation Project in Bangladesh

“I hope you are experiencing the gift of blessing for what you are doing. No day is a perfect day. Indeed it’s not the end. I’ll tell the story of what you are doing. Thank you and God bless you!”…These were the words of Jonathan Reckford when he met the volunteers and staff of Habitat Bangladesh at the Cyclone SIDR Rehabilitation project.

On 22nd of June Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford dedicated the first core shelter of the project. Jonathan Reckford visited the Cyclone SIDR Rehabilitation project in Mirjaganj, Patuakhali as part of his South Asian Tour and officially dedicated the first core shelter. Arnold Eby the Project Coordinator of the funding partner Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) joined Jonathan Reckford and the homeowner in cutting the ribbon.

The visitors witnessed the joy of tears in the eyes of homeowner Abdul Bari and his wife Samsun Nahar as Jonathan Reckford took time in listening the couple their memories of the dread night when SIDR stroked. They described the trembling story how they fled home with their 15 days old new born grand daughter amidst the destruction of SIDR.

Samsun Hahar elaborated, “The wind was very strong. Our house was destroyed and we went next door with the baby. Soon the water level started to rise and we decided to evacuate. It was raining heavily; there was water everywhere. We thought it was the end. I tied the baby on my shoulder and we all swam together to the nearest building.”

In response Jonathan Reckford said, “I express my sorrow to hear you. I want to congratulate you in your new home. We are glad to have the opportunity to serve you. We pray that your family may live happily and prosper in future and may you live as the good citizens of this community.”

During the visit Jonathan Reckford visited the production site, the mobile HRC, the residence of CAM volunteers and also the HRC guest house. He was accompanied by Richard Hathaway, Area Vice President of HFH Asia Pacific; Kyle Scott, Regional Program Manager of HFH South Asia; Scott Peterson, Disaster Response Coordinator of HFH Asia Pacific and Kelly Koch, National Director of HFH Bangladesh.

Abul Bashar, Project Manager of Cyclone Sidr Rehabilitation Project explained the construction process and the day to the activities of the project to the visiting guests. All the construction materials are prefabricated and later being transported to the construction sites by boat and then being carried by the volunteers and the homeowners to the building site.

A brief overview of the project was presented by Project Manager Abul Bashar at the mobile HRC. He mentioned that though monsoon started 20 shelters are still being constructed every week and a total of 136 core shelters have been erected so far. He expressed optimism that the project will be completed within due time.

While briefing the visitors Arnold Eby, Bangladesh based Project Coordinator of CAM said every two weeks over fifteen volunteers are flying to Bangladesh to put up the shelters. He said, “Donations are coming in from 5 to 100 to 200 Dollars from individuals. We have a partnership with Air Emirates. A fixed price will be offered all time for fare till the project will be going on.”

Arnold shared how they evaluate the beneficiaries that they are eligible to get the shelters. He said, “The volunteers are doing very good here. We can still find people living in their makeshift shelters. We look for real people who deserve to have a free shelter.”

In response Johatahan Reckford thanked all the volunteers and Habitat staff. He said, “I want to thank all of you, the CAM volunteers and our staff. The impact; the lives that you are changing, it sends a signal to the grater community that it’s not the end.”
After a day long tour the team came back to Dhaka with a filling of fulfillment and enthusiasm of helping more people in the area especially with a sanitation project that is currently being negotiated with Unicef Bangladesh.

Cyclone Sidr Rehabilitation Project - Mirzaganj

In November 2007, Cyclone Sidr struck Bangladesh, the worse storm since 1991. Thousands were killed, but evacuation and preparedness plans prevented worse damage and destruction.

HFH Bangladesh is the implementing partner in a project to assist and construct 280 transitional shelters for affected families in Mirjaganj and Barisal, as well as providing disaster mitigation training to the families and community.

The project is jointly funded by Christine Aid Ministries (CAM), HFH Netherlands, Chevron Bangladesh and many other individual donors of HFHI Bangladesh.

The project started in March 2008 and will be completed in September. As of June 2008, 154 shelters have been completed.

Each core house is about 6 meters by 4 meters in size.

A Mobile Habitat Resource Center and a production center at Shubidkahli Union at Mirjagong Upazilla in Patuakhali District is the core of the program. Building is being implemented through work teams, staff and CAM volunteers. Families are being assisted also to reuse old housing materials.

A fundraising campaign is in progress with Unicef Bangladesh, HFH UK and CAM for water and sanitation support to existing beneficiaries; disaster mitigation and other trainings. Future plans would include building more homes if funding is available and following up to introduce regular programs (Save and Build) and provide permanent structures to the rebuilt shelters.

CAM volunteers, approximately 15 people in a team are coming in every two weeks and heading towards Mirjaganj to help erect the core shelters. The volunteers are accepted by the local community and a positive impact is created. Aside from putting up the core shelters the volunteers take time to engage themselves with the local community especially with children and the sick during their free time.

On June 22 Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford visited the project in Mirjaganj as part of his South Asian Tour and officially dedicated the first house along with the CAM Project Coordinator Arnold Eby.

The visitors witnessed the joy of tears in the eyes of homeowner Abdul Bari and his wife Samsun Nahar. Jonathan Reckford took time in listening the couple their memory of the night when SIDR struck. They described the trembling story how they fled home with their new born grand daughter in the destruction of SIDR.


A Dream Come True!

On 25 June 2008 Habitat homeowner Shanara Begum celebrated her house warming with about 200 villagers. Shanara Begum is a homeowner of Khulna HRC of HFH Bangladesh and the proud homeowner of the 650th home of Satkhira Partnership project.

The homeowner Ms. Shanara Begum with her husband and three children thanked Habitat and her neighbors in tears of joy. She expressed her gratefulness in front of over two hundred villagers, local NGO, and community leaders who came to join the dedication ceremony. She said, “Save and Build program of Habitat for Humanity is an excellent opportunity to build a dream home for the people like me in the community. I hope my neighbors will also be able to fulfill their dreams soon.”

Shanara’s husband Mohammed Abu-Saidur Rahman is a farmer. They do not have cultivable land of their own but Rahman works as a day labor to others paddy field. The family of five has owned a 240 square feet home after Shanara became the member of Habitat’s ‘Save and Build’ group.

The new house is a very basic two room family home with 2 doors, 4 windows and 1 veranda. However majority of the low income people of the country do not have any access for availing the needed financial resources for building this kind of core home.

Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Save and Build’ group is looked upon as a powerful source of making the dreams of low income people come true while creating unity and trust among the members and greater community.

HFH Bangladesh is working is Satkhira district in partnership with World Vision Bangladesh Satkhira ADP. As of June 2008 HFH Bangladesh has built over 1700 homes in Bangladesh through its Save and Build program in 9 satellites and 2 partnership programs and in two Disaster Response Projects.

To donate to Habitat, please contact our Resource Development Department.