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Lauren Santheinrich, a volunteer at the site
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When the world came to India

November 2, 2006
Snuggled between two green hills in Malvali village is a patch of land where the world has descended. Two thousand volunteers from around the world, working as labourers -- masons, painters, carpenters -- to build homes, brick by brick.

They are bankers, executives, soldiers, students, professionals who arrived in India last week to construct 100 homes for the poor. Some work with the flags of their countries fluttering around their work area, wearing helmets and overalls, carrying tools and ladders -- painting, hammering, laying blocks -- one by one.

Working alongside them are locals who will be the homeowners of these houses. Families who will have a home of their own by the end of the week, built by the likes of former US President Jimmy Carter and his family, Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh, Hollywood star Brad Pitt, Bollywood actors Diana Hayden, Pooja Bedi and John Abraham.

Organised by Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy Carter Work Project 2006, the initiative kick starts a five-year campaign to provide homes to 250,000 Indians by 2010 involving 1 million volunteers and raising sufficient funds for housing. The project build homes with the people in need and sells the houses to them through non-profit loans.

Text: Archana Masih | Photographs: Dominic Xavier

Image: Lauren Santheinrich, a volunteer at the site

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