Sunday October 22, 08:15 AM

Jimmy Carter

Chicago, Oct 22 (IANS) Former US president Jimmy Carter will visit Malavli village near Lonavala in Maharashtra to take part in a project that involves building houses with local families in need.

The event will be held from Oct 30 to Nov 3, Karen Haycox, development director of Habitat for Humanity International, told IANS.

The Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) brings together thousands of volunteers from India and abroad to build houses. Typically, low-income families participate in the construction of the houses they are eventually allotted.

‘We at Habitat believe in giving a hand up, not a hand out,’ Haycox said.

A total of 100 houses are to be built. The houses would be 360 square feet semi detached, with a living room, kitchen, toilet, bathroom and verandah.

Carter’s visit to India, Haycox said, would primarily serve two objectives: raising awareness of Habitat’s projects in India, and allaying misconceptions that the organisation was engaged in converting people to Christianity.

‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating,’ said Bala Balachandran, professor at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. ‘Most people who have been allotted the houses in India have been non-Christians.’

Balachandran has been volunteering his time with Habitat India for years. Balachandran, who has also founded the Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, will be travelling to India for Carter’s visit.

Apart from this, he also has plans to visit Tamil Nadu. The exact details of which are not known. Around 50 students from Great Lakes will be helping him out in his noble endeavour.

‘We could do so much more in India if there was a greater awareness of Habitat,’ said Balachandran.

Acknowledging concerns about improper use of funds, Balachandran said 25 students and faculty of the Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai would oversee the use of the funds