In partnership with the Svinia Project
Svinia, Slovakia

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian, housing organization. We seek to eliminate poverty housing worldwide and make decent shelter for every person a matter of conscience and action.

Through donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and renovates simple, decent homes with the help of homeowner families. Each family invests hundreds of hours of labor into building their own house and the houses of others.

Habitat homes are sold to low-income families at no profit financed with affordable, no-interest loans. Mortgage payments by homeowners go into a revolving fund that builds more houses with more families in need. To date, Habitat has built over 120,000 homes around the globe, providing safe, good quality, affordable shelter to more than 500,000 people.

The Svinia Project

Habitat for Humanity is participating in a comprehensive community development project in a very impoverished Roma (also known as Gypsy) community in the village of Svinia in eastern Slovakia. The project is being coordinated by the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, British Columbia and is sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency. A variety of initiatives are underway to help families improve their monthly incomes, to start education programs and to develop the overall living conditions of the community.

As a major partner in the project, Habitat for Humanity plans to build up to 30 houses in Svinia, starting with a pilot project of 5 homes in the summer of 2003.

Family Profile: Ľudovít & Ervína Červeňák

Imagine living in a one-room house that gets soaked whenever it rains. Imagine having to live in a small hut infested with rats. And imagine that every time you step outside, you are greeted with a stench that reminds you of a garbage dump. This is the reality that many Roma families, like Ľudovít and Ervína Červeňák, in Slovakia live with today.

Ľudovít and Ervína, and their children Pavol (age 16), Jarmila (age 6), Jaroslav (age 2) and Ľudovít (age 1), live in a small hut in Svinia. They built it themselves, and it is made of mud, wooden sticks and scrap. With no other building materials available to them, the Červeňáks are doing the best they can in their one-room 172 ft2 shack.

The Červeňáks desperately want to build a good home for their family, but it is almost impossible for the Roma who have no access to credit. Unfortunately, the situation they face today also makes it impossible for them to have a realistic chance of getting well-paid jobs.

With Habitat for Humanity, Ľudovít, Ervína and their family now have a chance to build a decent house for themselves that they can be proud of. ”It’s my dream to build my own house,” Ľudovít says. ”In our mud hut, we freeze all night long… we would like to have a good house with a real bathroom and water.”

More Than Houses

The partnership project in Svinia with Habitat for Humanity can build more than just houses. We provide an opportunity to build relationships between the Roma and the majority ethnic Slovak population - something that is desperately needed in Slovakia today.

The partnership project will give the Roma of Svinia their first opportunity to have the dignity of building and paying for their own houses on their own terms. As a result, this could allow them their first chance to become real stakeholders in society. We hope that over the long-term, both the Roma and Slovak populations in Svinia will consider themselves equal partners in community life.

How You Can Get Involved

There are two ways you can get involved today:

1. Through your U.S. tax-deductible gifts

Habitat for Humanity estimates that it will cost about $10,000 to build one house and is currently seeking $50,000 so that the first 5 houses in Svinia can be built. About half the funds needed have already been raised. You can help by sending your gifts to:

Habitat for Humanity International
121 Habitat Street
Americus, Georgia 31709

Please be sure to write ”Slovakia: Source Code 02470” in the memo line of your check so that your gift will be allocated to Habitat’s work in Slovakia. If you are in Slovakia, you can also transfer funds from your Slovak bank account to the following bank account: 281 872 6050/1100

2. Buying hande-made crafts from Svinia

The purchase of handicrafts made by the Roma in Svinia will not only improve their monthly income, but also help give them a head-start on saving money for a Habitat for Humanity house. Please click on the follwing link for more information:


For more information please contact:

From the U.S.: 1-800-HABITAT ext. 2149

From other countries: ++421-51-795-8351


web site: