The concept that grew into Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia. Koinonia Farm was founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan.
The Fullers first visited Koinonia in 1965. They had recently left a successful business and an affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, Alabama to begin a new life of Christian service.
At Koinonia, Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of "partnership housing." The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses
The houses would be built at no profit and interest would not be charged on the loans. Building costs would be financed by a revolving fund called “The Fund for Humanity.” The fund's money would come from the new homeowners' house payments, no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fund-raising activities. The monies in the Fund for Humanity would be used to build more houses.
Habitat for Humanity Northern Ireland was established in 1994 by Peter Farquharson and his wife Jane McCarthy.
Peter and Jane had spent 3 months volunteering at Habitat International Head office in Atlanta before taking up the challenge of establishing Habitat in Northern Ireland.
When Habitat NI was established, Northern Ireland was still in the grip of ‘The Troubles’ and segregation of communities was at its most extreme. Peter envisioned to use the Habitat model locally as a way for communities and individuals to rebuild trust and restore relationships; bring Catholics and Protestants together to build houses with families in need – simply to build houses, build community and build hope.
Peter and Jane faced doubt and scepticism from many at the beginning but 21 years on the Habitat model has proved to be a success in Northern Ireland, bringing together more than 25,000 volunteers from all backgrounds and faiths to work together for the good of families in need.