In the heart of rural Odisha, where most Christian families live in secluded villages, a quiet struggle unfolds within the simple mud houses topped with thatched roofs.

Here, a story of resilience and hope emerges. It’s about eleven families who once faced inadequate housing but now proudly stand in their newly built homes, thanks to the ‘Swapnaghoro— Dream House’ project, part of the 13 Houses Campaign.

For years, these families, mainly from tribal and Dalit communities, endured makeshift dwellings with thatched roofs. These shelters offered little protection from the weather, leaving them vulnerable.

Led by Fr. George Thattamparambil and Fr. Dr. Thampi Thomas Panangatu, CM, and their team, the 13 Houses project aimed to help poor families build dignified homes in the villages. With the support of the community, eleven houses were completed—a testament to commitment and dedication to this important cause.

Each new house has brick walls and either concrete or tin roofing, suited to the families’ budgets and needs.

The innovative aspect of the project lies in providing interest-free microcredits to families struggling to complete their house construction (as government aid covers only a portion of the expenses). Beneficiaries commit in writing, under the guidance of village elders, to repay these loans in manageable instalments. The objective is to establish a revolving fund using repayments from beneficiaries, thereby extending assistance to more families in the region to construct stable and affordable homes. This approach aims to break the cycle of poverty by providing sustainable assistance and fostering self-reliance within each village.

Among the eleven families helped so far, Junesh, a farmer from the Sabara tribe, has seen significant changes in his community. He and his wife, Mary, worked hard to educate their five children despite limited resources. Supported by various programs, including those led by the parish community, the Sabara tribe has seen improvements in education, healthcare, and living conditions.

In 2018, Junesh and Mary began constructing a new house, which was supported by relatives, the village community, government housing assistance, personal loans, and the 13 Houses Campaign. After several years of hard work and collaboration, the house was completed in 2022, serving as an inspiration to the entire village.

Today Junesh serves as a part-time catechist in the Mary Nagar Parish, assisting with religious activities.

This and other stories of hope like Junesh’s are at the heart of this project, such as that of Adiya, Taiteya, and Gusin’s families from the villages of Mary Nagar Parish who have realized their dream to have a new home.

Adiya’s family

Taiteya’s family

Gusin’s family

Though faced with challenges and delays, the eleven families persevered, and today they are all settled in their new homes.

Through the ‘Swapnaghoro – Dream House’ project, we witness not just the culmination of a venture, but the dawn of a new chapter filled with promise and empowerment for many more families. By providing interest-free loans, this approach eliminates the conventional obstacles that often impede individuals and families experiencing homelessness from obtaining financial support. This endeavour not only tackles immediate housing necessities but also lays down the foundation for lasting independence and prosperity.