Monday, October 20, 2008

Fundraising update

We at Habitat Bangladesh, express special thank-you and gratitude to all our Tithe partners and global donors. From FY 2005 - FY 2008, Habitat Bangladesh received USD191,500 as Designated Tithe Donations from different US Habitat affiliates. As Tithe contributions we received USD 69,723 in FY 2007/2008 alone.

Habitat Bangladesh received another USD 6,185 in donations globally from individual donors and companies from December 2007 to June 2008.

Designated donations and individual contributions have exponentially increased during the last fiscal year. While Macomb County, Orange County and Gwinnett County remains our largest donors, HFH Victoria made a significant effort to encourage the students of Trinity school, aged from 3 - 14 years, to raise funds for HFHI Bangladesh. Though the contributions were small, the efforts were huge and we were certainly inspired seeing the compassion of these young kids.

Sincere thanks to our Tithe partners for their sustained support of Habitat Bangladesh:

Habitat Bangladesh also acknowledges all its local donors, Global Village and local volunteers for their tireless effort in supporting Habitat's house building activities for the low income people.

During the 1st quarter of current fiscal year or July-September 2008 the local fundraising stands at USD 11,900. Congratulations to our volunteers for Building Homes and Changing Lives through Habitat Bangladesh.

Story of the month

"We haven't seen any foreigners before. They have come from afar helping us re-build our shelters that were destroyed during Cyclone Sidr. Our children are very happy seeing and being with them (the foreigner volunteers). It is a wonderful experience seeing their passion for poor people" says 40 year old Ismail Gazi of Mirzaganj village.

Like many in the area, Ismail Gazi engages in catching fish, rickshaw-pulling and basic plumbing, to contribute to his monthly income of Tk.4500, to support his family of seven.

Ismail Gazi 's wife Bakful Begum says, "Things got only worse (when the cyclone struck) as my husband was not at home when the wind started getting hard-hitting."

When Ismail made his way home, he saw the already flooded area suddenly swell up even more in the wake of Cyclone Sidr. He fell into a pond of water and clung onto a tree, struggling
to get to the house next door. But the surge of water was so strong that it carried him further away.

He described how he left his eldest son to his fate and told him to hang onto a tree strongly. Somehow he caught hold of his two younger sons and managed to take them to a safe place. "And the next time I returned to collect my elder one, I found him somehow hanging onto the tree. Allah just kept him alive. I still get terrified remembering that dreadful night" exclaimed Ismail Gazi.

He shudders to recollect the day he saw his house uprooted, poultry blown away, fishnets thrown and tangled and life turned into a mess.

Ismail is grateful that Habitat provided him with a silver lining on his rain cloud. He got a new home where he does not need to be worry about rain wetting him, even while inside the house. "I'm very glad to get this house," he says, "Before the cyclone; we used to stay in a broken house. My children are happy. Now they have a roof over them to shelter them with a healthy environment where they can read and write."

He further explains that it would have been nice if the structure
bore an add-on of a verandah so that they could have a nice place to sit down, chit-chat and watch the rain fall.

Ismail 's wife Bakful Begum says, "An adjacent toilet will be very helpful; my children and I do not have to go here and there to find a toilet."

Ismail Gazi desires to see the anguish of people around him melt away in the same way his life has taken such a pleasant turn. Thanks to Habitat, its donors and volunteers.

Homes Built To Date

Families served:
• 1883 homes built and renovated since 2000 to September 2008;
• 402 transitional shelters constructed under the Disaster Response projects;
• 44 homes built through the Save & Build in the first quarter of FY 08 - 09.
National Repayment Rate: 81%

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Volunteer Builds

From 27 September – 4 October, Habitat Bangladesh hosted a Global Village team from the Shanghai American School in China. The team was the third one to come from the school in to work with Habitat Bangladesh. The team consisted of 18 people and helped construct 3 houses in Shambhugonj in Mymensingh.

The community in Mymensingh highly appreciated the attitude and work of the Shanghai American School. People were very interested to hear why the team had come to build houses in their community. They asked many questions about Habitat for Humanity International Bangladesh.

The volunteers spoke of Bangladesh being a beautiful country, and the people of the community being very warm and hospitable. They were impressed to see the colourful culture and traditions of Bangladesh. Some of the students and one of the teachers expressed their desire to visit Bangladesh again.

“I thought the work was my high point in this trip, because I got close to the homeowners and my teammates. For me, working experience was better than the community/ cultural experience” said Chan Ju On, student.

“Building a house, interaction with the Bangladeshi volunteer & children was the highlight of my trip” Hyo Min Kim, student.

“Cultural events made our trip memorable” Geoff Peake, Team Leader.

Work that the team completed included, carrying bricks, mortar, cement, sand and brick chips. Digging, pounding floors, watering bricks, curing, making brick chips, building walls, and mixing mortar.

Finally, the team was able to be involved in various cultural events over the week.

Local Volunteers Update

Habitat Bangladesh is fortunate to receive tremendous support from local volunteers here in Bangladesh!

Recently, Dibarah Mahboob, a student from Scholastica School in Dhaka who has completed her O-levels commenced her duties as a long-term volunteer in the National Office. Dibarah will be assisting the Public Relations and Resource Development team in key communication, marketing and fundraising activities. A warm welcome to Dibarah and a big thank-you for volunteering at Habitat!

Last weekend, 35 students from the American International School - Dhaka traveled to Savar to assist in the construction of three houses. The students were warmly welcomed by the community, who were impressed with their dedication and stamina! Thank-you to the American International School, who have been a long-time supporter of Habitat Bangladesh.

Finally, the Leo Club of Dhaka went on their first build on 17 October! The Leo Club are one of Habitat Bangladesh’s newest supporters and we welcome them to the Habitat family!

Welcome to AYAD volunteer Monica Gray!

Monica Gray, you will be seeing her sitting quietly on her computer busy either in writing or researching onto something. She has a strong commitment to fulfil any tasks given to her. Monica is the newest volunteer from the Australian Youth Ambassador for Development or AYAD program and is working at the Public Relations and Resource Development Department (PR & RD) at the National Office as a Resource Development Associate.

Monica comes with a wide experience in the NGO and public sector. She has been in
India working with Gram Vikas, a non-government organisation in the state of Orissa, where she worked among the Dalit (untouchables) communities.

She has great passion for politics, policy development and international development. We believe she will be able to make a significant contribution to the mission and ministry of HFHIB.

Please join us in welcoming Monica to Habitat Bangladesh. Monica, wish you a happy and memorable stay in Bangladesh.

Nehemiah Award

HFH Nehemiah Award Winner 2008 for distinguished volunteer service
Mr. Curtis Hendricks
HFH Advisor, American International School/Dhaka

Congratulations Mr. Curtis Hendricks.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Mr. Curtis Hendricks, who spent the last four years spreading the word of HFHI Bangladesh. He has brought Habitat's name to the forefront.

Mr. Curtis's enthusiasm for the ministry of Habitat is exemplary. In the 2007-2008 school year, he has organized, coordinated and supervised over 50 students on Habitat builds. Over the course of the year, he initiated fund-raising campaigns that successfully exceeded targets and raised over USD $ 7,890 for HFHI Bangladesh.

This was the largest amount ever received from a youth program in Bangladesh ad represented 10% of the funds HFHI Bangladesh raised locally in fiscal year 2008. The fund were significant in jumpstarting the preparation and groundwork for the second phase of the Cyclone Sidr Rehabilitation Project (CSRP) in Patuakhali, where Habitat is engaged in constructing 480 transitional shelters for the cyclone affected people.

To donate to the CSRP sanitation project for providing families with a hygienic toilet write to the Resource Development Manager Click here!