Netherlands team helps people build their homes

‘Housing 4 More’, a project initiated by a team of people from Netherlands has helped the economically downtrodden in Madurai build houses at a nominal cost.

With the help of DHAN Foundation, Richard De Jagger and Tonny Drijdijk, along with ten others from Netherlands have helped 231 people in the rural pockets of Madurai realise their dreams to build houses. The team consisting of financial, insurance and construction experts have arranged for Rs 1.3 crore loan from Rabo, a bank from Netherlands.

“So far 61 small houses and 170 incremental houses have been built with the loan disbursed to the locals in Madurai. Construction of 29 small houses and 120 incremental houses are underway”, said the team during their interaction with media, here on Friday.

According to them, having tasted success in their pilot project they are planning to provide loans for a cluster house project in Madurai.

“It will take five to seven years for the people to repay the loan in total. The amount recovered will be used as a revolving fund, so that more people will benefit”, said Richard De Jagger and Tonny Drijdijk, who initiated the project in 2010.

After an internship in DHAN foundation, the duo proposed the project and implemented it with the help of their friends to help the economically downtrodden build their houses, because they felt most of the banks in India lent loans for the middle class and the affluent.

Their involvement in the project did not stop just with funding and during their visits to Madurai they also lent a helping hand to the construction labourers by joining them in physical work.

For the project, a minimum of Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh was given on loan to the beneficiaries, at 8 percent interest. The beneficiaries of the project have so far been members of ‘Kalanjiam Foundation’, a subsidiary of DHAN foundation.

“The experience and knowledge we gained out of the implementation of the project are abundant. The cost of construction of a house in Holland is high and the construction experts from there did suggest a few cost cutting measures to the locals here, since they are used to thinking in the lines of cutting costs there”, the members told the media. The cluster housing project is likely to commence from January 2013, they announced.

The team also proposes to have model houses, which the locals could refer to for cost cutting measures. The small and individual houses have been constructed near Ponnamaravathy, Viraganur and Samayanallur, near here.

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