Sadhiya Aziz Sheikh has turned a celebrity overnight after being allotted a house at a village in Patan, Maharashtra, by the Habitat for Humanity through the Jimmy Carter Work Project.
The JCWP is the first large-scale house building project in India, launched after the 'India Build' campaign initiated by HFH. JCWP volunteers began constructing 100 homes for low income families at Patan, near Lonavla.
Sheikh said, "I am awed by the gesture of Carter and his wife, to have chosen my house to be built by them. Initially, I didn't know who he was, but later I came to know about him and now am waiting for his autograph." Sheikh, who is married with two children, hails from the nearby Varsuli village and is a member of the local self-help group Abinav.
Her husband Aziz, a cab driver with a car rental company, earns Rs 2,500 per month and supports his family, including his aged parents. The family has been living in rental accommodation with no property or land to their name.
"We would have never managed to build or own a home of our own. Now we would not be disturbed by the noise of others or be at the mercy of landlords. We will be able to live as we choose. I am joyfully looking forward to moving into it," she said.
Earlier, Fatima Bee Shakeel, the first recipient of a Habitat home at Khamum district in Andhra Pradhesh in 1986,
She said it was important that every poor family should have a home of their own, in order that families can concentrate on children's education, and other things for livelihood.
Homes for the low-income families help eradicate poverty and unwanted destitution, thus bringing some stability to the families on the economic front, she added.
When Jimmy Carter visited India as United States President, the then Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai had dedicated a village in Haryana named 'Carterpuri' in the name of the legendary President and the Carter family's long standing association with India.
Rev Azariah Korabandi, credited with bringing HFH into India in 1983, reminded that the construction of Habitat homes, and its vision to provide homes to the poor remains unchanged, since the time of its arrival.
He, however, pointed that with the passage of time, Habitat home owners have less time to pay their interest free installments, from 20 years earlier, to eight years now. "Habitat homes are for the poor, it has no religion, colour, race or any other distinction," the Octogenarian said.