UAE firms team up to fight poverty
by Andy Sambidge, Arabian Business, 31 August 2008
A group of UAE companies on Sunday announced a partnership with a US organisation in an initiative to build desperately needed homes for those living in poverty.
Property developer ETA Star, Dubai Lifestyle City, Homes r Us and Star Cement have teamed up with the Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI).
ETA Star and its partners will donate a percentage of their total sales during the holy month of Ramadan towards building homes for the destitute in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Ethiopia.
The initiative follows ETA Star’s Homes for the Homeless programme last year when a contribution of two million dirhams was made to the Red Crescent Authority.
Rapid population growth and urbanization has added to the urgency of the housing need.
It is estimated that by 2030, cities and towns across Asia will be home to an estimated 2.6 billion people. Almost as many – 2.2 billion – will be seeking to build better lives in difficult rural areas.
Abid Junaid, executive director, ETA Star said: “In Habitat, we have found a proven organization that provides the right synergy in our mission to provide homes for the deprived and underprivileged.
“The Holy month of Ramadan is considered the time for giving; helping the needy. There certainly would be no better way than to help provide shelters to those underprivileged for whom sky is the only roof they can call their own.”
Habitat for Humanity has built more than 250,000 houses around the world, providing more than one million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.
Habitat is not a giveaway programme. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labour — sweat equity — into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.
Some of Habitat’s star volunteers include former US President Jimmy Carter, musician Jon Bon Jovi and actors Brad Pitt and John Abraham.