With Habitat at work in communities across the United States and in more than 70 countries around the world, we can’t bring everyone in person to experience all of the places where so much housing need — and so many Habitat successes — exist. But we can bring that world to more and more people, through the powerful images we employ on our website, in our magazine, through our social media channels, and through the many print products we create on a regular basis.
One example: each fall, we offer a wall calendar that we hope will serve as a daily reminder of exactly why we build: the lasting impact that decent housing can have for children and families. Often, a simple, decent and affordable home provides the foundation that can move a family from a cycle of poverty to a world of opportunity. We’d like for everyone who spies that Habitat message in the kitchens, cubicles and classrooms where it hangs to be moved by our mission. And the pictures make that possible.
To create the calendar, we review all of the photos and stories we’ve produced in the past year and select the facts and faces that we think best represent the homes, communities and hope that we build every day.
A little Bulgarian boy with light in his eyes, playing in a newly warm and safe apartment that has been renovated with help from a Habitat microfinance loan. A young girl in Malawi who sees the grace of God in the home volunteers helped build. A family in Alabama who lost the security of their home to a vicious tornado, now able to lay new foundations and look to the future once again.
These are the portraits of our work’s importance, the inspiration behind so much of the generous support we receive from all those who build, donate and advocate on Habitat’s behalf.
A second example: Many know the sights and sounds they experience when volunteering in their local community, and some have even had the opportunity to travel to help Habitat build in another country. But too few of us will ever be able to say we know what it’s like to be on a Habitat build site in China. And while most of us are fortunate enough to know that we have a place to call home, what’s it like to know that hope for the very first time? Multimedia presentations help us bridge that gap, as we help our volunteers and homeowners tell their own stories.
Our images, moving and still, help us make real the despair of indecent housing conditions, the hope that Habitat’s work creates in communities, and the joy of families who finally know the peace and stability of affordable homeownership. To see clearly is to believe deeply, and that is the power of our pictures.
Guest Post by Chris Clarke, SVP, Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat has been using Merlin to manage their photos since 2000. Recently their system was updated to support their video needs.