Couple help building a future in India

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A BALLYMONEY couple will set off shortly aiming to help rebuild the lives of some of the most impoverished people in India.

Eva and Arthur Kennedy of the Kirk Road will head for Bangalore in July as part of a volunteer programme by Habitat for Humanity NI and on their arrival will immediately get to work on building homes for local people.

The pair started working with Habitat for Humanity NI six years ago and have since travelled to Romania and Ethiopia to take part in the hands on construction or renovation of houses.

This year the charity will be sending out 25 teams from all over the world including one from the Province - in order to alleviate the hardships of others.

The Northern Ireland team consisting of 11 members between 18 and 60 years who have never met before and will be giving up two weeks of their summer holidays to help those less well-off than themselves.

Eva explained: “The Open India Team will be travelling to Bangalore on July 6 to labour on the building sites where we will be working alongside families in need, building decent, affordable housing.

“We all had to raise £2,000 each to cover our costs. A large portion of the money we raise also goes directly to the building project, to buy building materials and pay for the skills of craftsmen on site. All other labouring jobs are done by the families themselves with the help of volunteers from all over the world.

“This brings a powerful message to the poor of the world, that they are not forgotten.”

Every eight minutes, somewhere in the world, a Habitat house is completed, improving health, increasing educational opportunities, providing livelihood support.

Eva continued: “India is home to 22% of the world’s poor with 350million living below the poverty line, in conditions which we, here in Northern Ireland could never imagine and which no television programme could ever portray.

“Families on Habitat sites work in groups, often led by women. They save 1/3 of the cost of a house, a partner organization contributes 1/3 and Habitat invests the remaining 1/3. Over the next five years Habitat India plans to build 50,000 homes alongside these vulnerable people.

“This trip will be a life-changing experience for everyone involved, and one which will not be forgotten and is so worthwhile.”

Hoping to raise vital funds, Eva and Arthur are holding a fundraising night in The Playhouse Portrush. She added: “The event will take place on Wednesday, April 20 where we will be screening ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which was actually film in Bangalore.

“This will be followed by a fun episode of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ hosted by Crazy Davy. The night is shaping up to be a really great event, so please come along and bring your friends. Guests will be enjoying themselves while also helping others. There will be a glass of wine on arrival and prizes for the ‘Millionaire’ quiz.”

Tickets are £7.50 available from Playhouse or by contacting Eva on 07789390262.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity go lone: www.habitatni.co.uk