Mrs. Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, Habitat for Humanity India, spoke at an interactive session on "Affordable Housing", highlighting the organisation's goals and road map for the future. The event was organised under the aegis of the FICCI-Aditya Birla CSR Centre of Excellence in Mumbai on 19 August 2010. Here is an excerpt from Mrs. Birla's speech.
A decent roof over one's head is the most minimal need of a human being. A home gives a tremendous sense of security, spurs education, lays the foundation of a sustainable livelihood and builds a fine family. In India, the housing scenario is a matter of concern. We need 50 million houses in India, of which, 25 million units are required in urban India alone. We, at Habitat for Humanity International, endeavour to bridge this gap, albeit in a very small way. We are committed to cross the 100,000 homes for the homeless-mark by 2015," said Mrs. Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, Habitat for Humanity India, at a function organised under the aegis of the FICCI-Aditya Birla CSR Centre of Excellence, in Mumbai
Habitat is a world-renowned organisation. Its basic objective is to help provide affordable houses to the underprivileged. To date, Habitat for Humanity has built 370,000 houses across the globe. Of these, 35,000 are in India.
"In India, at the corporate level, Habitat started its innings with the Aditya Birla Group almost a decade ago. At the time, 'Habitat for Humanity' was a relatively unknown entity in corporate India. We tied up with them as an experiment. The Aditya Birla Group began with just 110 houses in Renukoot in Uttar Pradesh, near Hindalco's plants. Over the years, the Aditya Birla Group has supported Habitat financially and in kind, to the tune of US $1.5 million. They've helped build over 3,000 houses. Today, they pledged support for building 1,400 houses as a beginning." Mrs. Birla acknowledged the tremendous support received from Citigroup, Dow Chemicals, ASK Financials and HDFC, among others. "Alongside the dedicated team of Women IndiaBUILDS led by Mrs. Sheila Kripalani, Habitat celebrity champions like John Abraham, Maddy (R. Madhavan), Jacqueline Fernandez, as well as scores of other friends have bolstered our efforts," remarked Mrs. Birla.
Highlighting the road map for the future, Mrs. Birla mentioned the launch of Habitat's 'World of Hope' campaign. This campaign solicits funding and volunteer engagement, both of which are essential to rocket a project of such scale. She also informed the gathering that Mr. Ron Terwilliger, one of Habitat's greatest patrons in the US, who is also the Chairman of the World of Hope Global Campaign, is rooting for India. He will reach out to Ivy League CEOs of Indian origin in the United States, as well as the Ivy League alumni in India. He will directly ask for their commitment and funding for Habitat Homes for the homeless.
"Likewise, we are also exploring engaging with the American Physicians of Indian Origin and appealing to them through our team member Mr. Asit Koticha. Mr. Sanjay Nayar, CEO, KRR India Advisors Pvt. Ltd., has also put his might behind Habitat. He will be tapping into high net worth individuals and his corporate clients for support," avers Mrs. Birla.
The FICCI-Aditya Birla CSR Centre organised the interactive session to host Mr. Jonathan Reckford, Global CEO of Habitat for Humanity, and also to garner the support of corporates in terms of funding, management time and for cascading Habitat's message to their circle of influence. Mr. Jonathan Reckford, Mr. Sanjay Nayar and Mr. Asit Koticha, who are driving the Habitat programme, sincerely believe that the privileged class owe it to themselves, and to the nation, to make a difference to the underprivileged by reaching out to them and helping provide basic amenities such as a home.
Dr. Pragnya RamGroup Executive President, Corporate Communications & CSRAditya Birla Management Corporation Private LimitedAditya Birla Centre, 1st Floor, 'C' WingS.K. Ahire Marg, WorliMumbai 400 030.
91-22-6652 5000 /2499 5000
Fax: 91-22-6652 5741/ 42