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Habitat for Humanity

Country: Kyrgyzstan
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One of the smallest of the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan is an isolated, mountainous, land locked country located in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan shares borders with China to the east, Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, and Tajikistan to the south. Kyrgyzstan is a country of breathtaking natural beauty. It has some of the highest mountains, largest mountain lakes and most remote and untouched wilderness in the world.

On the other hand, Kyrgyzstan also has experienced sharp economic decline. It has one of the highest infant mortality rate and lowest per capita incomes anywhere. Kyrgyzstan is also a home of many, many poor people.

HFH Kyrgyzstan Brief History
Kyrgyzstan was the first country among former Soviet Union countries to start its partnership with Habitat for Humanity International in 1999. Because of the tremendous lack of decent housing, HFHI was invited to provide simple, decent and affordable housing for the needy people of Kyrgyzstan.

HFH Kyrgyzstan was founded in Spring 1999. The government provided its initial support by granting a plot of land for the construction of houses that afterwards was named a "Habitat Region." This land, a former apple orchard, suits fifty houses and has a nice playground. The first construction started in 2000 and Dedication of 20 houses was held in November 2002. The President of Kyrgyzstan, Prime Minister, Mayor of Bishkek City and other officials attended the ceremony and congratulated Habitat families with their new homes.

In January 2003 HFH Kyrgyzstan switched from building brick houses to the Renovation of apartments and have renovated 52 apartments up to date. Due to the increasing costs for the apartments, HFH Kyrgyzstan found an alternative in 2004 - completion of Half-built Houses. There is a tremendous demand from people asking to complete their unfinished houses, since many migrants settled in outskirts of Bishkek by hardly erecting walls. Today, we have completed 38 half-built houses. Currently we are working on our first partnership program with housing cooperation "Pogranichnik" to complete a 20-apartment half-built house for families serving in military.

Searching for solutions to provide needy families with an affordable housing, HFH Kyrgyzstan started an absolutely innovative in Habitat world project - Cane Reed Houses, in September 2004. These houses are built using local materials - cane reed mats that are environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, seismically stable, affordable and fast in construction. Habitat Kyrgyzstan’s innovative Cane Reed project won US$116,389 World Bank Award at the prestigious World Bank Development Marketplace competition that took place in Washington DC in May 7-10, 2006. The winning project “Cane Reed: 19th Century Idea, 21st Century Solution” is among 30 winners chosen from 2,500 applicants from 55 countries. In May 10, 2007 the build was strated and the families were building 2 row houses (each of 5 hhapartments) with the help of local and GV volunteers. To date 48 cane reed houses are built.

Habitat Kyrgyzstan Foundation works in Chu, Issikul and Naryn regions covering more than 10 villages. We partner with Open Society Institute to serve families who have a member with mental disabilty, with Migration Fund to serve refugees, with Kompanion to implement a microfinnace projects, with Women of Europe for Common Future to build ecological toilets in rural areas for communities with no access to clean water and central sewage systems.

To date HFH Kyrgyzstan has served 916 families and by the end of 2008 we plan to build our 1000 th home.

HFH Kyrgyzstan is governed by Board of Directors consisting of 8 local and devoted volunteers. They work in committees to select future Habitat families, to assure that we are building simple, decent and affordable houses, to fundraise and to spread the word of Habitat's work throughout Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan.

Habitat Kyrgyzstan houses are 2,3 and 4 room brick houses and 3 room reed houses
Prices range from $5,000-$10,000 per house
Houses have running water, electricity and bathrooms
Each house have a little garden for growing vegetables