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Human Rights Day

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, USA (8/23/16)-Sunrise over the build site, on the second day of Habitat’s 33rd Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.....The Carters spent a week working alongside Habitat for Humanity homeowners and hundreds of volunteers in Memphis, Tennessee, to build and repair homes.....Hosted by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, volunteers spent the week helping families build or improve places they can call home through new home construction, neighborhood beautification and home modifications for seniors. This included 19 new homes in the Bearwater Park area just north of Uptown Memphis; 10 neighborhood beautification projects, including painting and landscaping; and 6 aging in place projects to enhance accessibility and mobility for seniors.....© Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein

Habitat for Humanity Recognizes 75th Anniversary of UDHR

by Summer Bessent

This past weekend – on December 10, 2022 –  the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was commemorated. 

The UDHR consists of a preamble and 30 articles that set out a broad range of fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all of us, everywhere around the world, are entitled. It guarantees our rights without distinction of nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status. (OHCHR, 2022)  

In an article by Steven Weir (2007), it was stated that adequate housing for all has universally been viewed as one of the most basic human needs, and the UDHR (1948) named housing to be an integral part of the right to an adequate standard of living (p. 1).  

Habitat for Humanity International and the UN-Habitat have a long lasting partnership meant to address substandard living conditions and the need for affordable housing around the world. They have been working alongside each other since 1976, when both organizations were founded. In 2021, they renewed their partnership with the strategic plan of, over the next five years, working together to support the development and implementation of housing programs that are both sustainable and affordable on a global scale (HFHI, 2021).   

Habitat for Humanity International, and all local affiliates, are driven by the sole vision that everyone needs, and deserves, a decent place to live and call home. Millard Fuller, the organization’s founder, has stated on many occasions, “Habitat for Humanity believes that it is politically, socially, morally, and religiously unacceptable for people to live in substandard housing.” [emphasis added]  

It is this belief, this basic human right, this NEED, that drives Habitat for Humanity, its staff, its donors, its partners, and its volunteers to do the work that they do. Habitat for Humanity has always envisioned itself as providing communities and families with a hand up, not handout. Often mistaken for a charity, it has been argued that the world’s “poor” do not need charity. What they truly need, and what we strive to provide, is assistance to solve their housing problems by their own means and hard work. The goal is to remove barriers to these opportunities, providing families and communities with a greater sense of self-confidence, safety, stability, and accomplishment (Weir, pg. 7).  

Through this article, and by highlighting this important day, we hope to increase our community’s understanding and knowledge of the UDHR as, “a foundational blueprint for taking concrete actions to stand up for human rights and tackle pressing global issues today (OHCHR, 2022),” especially the lack of and need for affordable housing for all.  

This year’s Human Rights Day slogan was “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All” and the call to action is #StandUp4HumanRights.  

As you digest this information, please keep in mind that by providing decent, safe, and affordable housing to families, we are not only providing them with the opportunity to have a decent place to call home, but we are providing them with endless opportunities for growth and better quality of life. Adequate housing leads to improved health, greater educational opportunities, healthy childhood development, and greater economic mobility.  

Thank you to each person who works alongside Habitat for Humanity to make this goal, this mission, an achievable reality.  



Habitat for Humanity International and UN-Habitat Renew Partnership to address need for affordable housing around the world. Habitat for Humanity. (2021, October 12). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://www.habitat.org/newsroom/2021/habitat-humanity-international-and-un-habitat-renew-partnership-address-need  

Human Rights Day 2022. OHCHR. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://www.ohchr.org/en/get-involved/campaign/human-rights-day  

The Forum . (n.d.). Habitat for Humanity and Housing Rights . Habitat for Humanity Int’l. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://www.habitat.org/lc/theforum/english/  


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