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Jimmy Carter, wife to lead 2,000 volunteers to build homes

Meena Menon

This is 23rd year of the annual Jimmy Carter Work Project


  • JCWP is part of Habitat for Humanity's programme to create housing for the needy
  • Beneficiaries of this week's programme are women from Abhinav Cooperative Credit Society

    PHOTO: VIVEK BENDRE

    STILL GOING STRONG: The former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, at the inauguration of the Habitat for Humanity, Jimmy Carter Work Project 2006, at Lonavala near Mumbai on Sunday.

    Patan village (Maharashtra): Early on Monday, this village is going to witness some unusually furious house building activity spread over this entire week. Led by former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, a band of 2,000 volunteers will build 100 houses for needy women, near the popular hill resort of Lonavla.

    Launching the programme at a function on Sunday at the seven-acre plot, where volunteers from all over will build the homes the world, Mr.Carter recalled that 38 years ago, his mother Lillian Carter was a Peace Corps Volunteer at Vikhroli village nearby. The 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner said India had played a major role in his life. After his mother worked here, he became President and met the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who later named a village after him called Carterpuri.

    This is the 23rd year of the annual Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) started by Mr Carter and his wife. They have built houses in several countries across the world. In Philippines, he said that 13000 JCWP volunteers built 220 houses in five days. ``In South Korea we built houses in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, and a few months later US President Bush announced that he was going to visit the most dangerous zone in the world,", said Mr Carter. ``A month ago my wife and I had built houses there," he remarked.

    The JCWP is part of Habitat for Humanity's programme to create housing for the needy involving the homeowners themselves and volunteers. The first JCWP project was led by Mr Carter and his wife in New York city in 1984 according to Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer, Habitat for Humanity International, an NGO, the idea is not build 100 homes but create a community.

    ``This JCWP is the first large-scale event of the five year IndiaBUILDS programme of Habitat for Humanity, India and it will draw attention to the plight of over 300 million in India who don't have adequate housing," said Mr Peter Selvarajan, chief executive officer of Habitat's India wing. The programme aims to provide shelter for 2,50,000 people in India by 2010 through mobilising one million volunteers.

    The beneficiaries of this week's housing programme are women from the Abhinav Cooperative Credit Society (ACS), which was established in 1998 to support self-help groups.

    It works in 26 villages in Patan taluka and the women, who will be part of the housing programme, are chosen on the basis of need, ability to repay and willingness to volunteer labour. ACS is part of an NGO Social Action for Manpower Creation (SAMPARC).

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