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Habitat for Humanity China complete the world’s largest annual volunteer building project Led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, 238 volunteers over the past week have worked relentlessly to build 16 affordable homes for families in Sichuan and a further 146 homes in Asia built by some 3,000 volunteers
SICHUAN, CHINA – November 20, 2009 – Today marks the completion of a week-long effort in Qionglai City, Sichuan province as part of the 26th annual Habitat for Humanity Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to build safe and affordable homes for poor families in the region. 238 volunteers – including local and international celebrities Daniel Wu, Lisa S, Andrew Lin and Ken Wong – have been working alongside families to help construct 16 Habitat for Humanity units in the first of a series of multistory blocks that will eventually house 1, 500 families. Kick started on November 15, former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn have led over 3,000 volunteers from around the world during the week-long build project, in addition to the 238 volunteers in China (288 including crew), to build and repair a further 146 homes in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos as part of The Mekong Build – all countries along the Mekong River. During the Carters’ visit to Qionglai City on November 19, former President Carter expressed his gratitude to all the volunteers who join him and his wife every year in a collaborative effort to help build hope and futures for hundreds of families and their communities. Carter also announced this year’s work project as the launch of a major five-year campaign to deliver affordable housing for 10,000 families in China and a total of 50,000 families across five countries as part of Habitat for Humanity’s global effort to eliminate poverty housing. “Through this week’s build project, we together have connected nations, strengthened communities and brought new life to families through stable homes, safe and accessible water, and training and support for financial security,” said Habitat for Humanity chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford. At the closing ceremony in Sichuan, during which all volunteers celebrated their achievements, Habitat for Humanity’s Chief Representative of Sichuan, Hosea Lai, expressed his deepest appreciation for the hard work and commitment of all the volunteers, sponsors and the families, “You have each played an important role in supporting Habitat’s cause in helping alleviate the desperate need of the communities in this area. The impact of the project has not only been for the families assisted during the week but for the growing Habitat for Humanity China program.”
During the week, temperatures were uncommonly cold for Sichuan at this time of year, but volunteers seem unperturbed by the chill. Irena Pratley, an architect from New Zealand that resides in Beijing expresses her gratitude: “I came with expectations of joy and fulfillment, but I had no idea that this past week would be so meaningful. Although there are so many things worth remembering, one that will remain in me is working hand-in-hand with local people from Sichuan to provide hope and improve lives here. I am very blessed to have this experience, to give of my skills and time in this way.” Dozens of volunteers in Qionglai City hail from around the world and have participated in Carter Work Projects previously, including Barry and Jennifer Rizk, a couple from Colorado Springs, Colorado, that participated in the Carter Work Projects 2003 in Georgia and 2005 in Michigan. As the first international Carter Work Project the couple has joined, Barry shares, “The experience in China and the friendliness of the people has been phenomenal. The masons and the crew are patient, and everywhere we went the people are happy and appreciative.” Urban poverty is acute, particularly in the Asian countries where Habitat for Humanity built during this week’s project and the explosive growth in towns and cities has marginalized people and community groups. It is estimated that in the Mekong River basin, nearly one-fifth of the population lives in poverty – many on less than the equivalent of US$1 per day. In addition, an estimated 200 million people in China still live on less than US$1.25 a day according to the World Bank (World Bank in 2005 prices), even though rapid economic growth has reduced abject poverty in China. This phase of the Qionglai City Project involved Habitat working with local government authorities to build homes for some of the poorest families in Sichuan. These families lost their land on the rural outskirts of the expanding city as their holdings were consolidated for other purposes. Habitat’s Carter Work Project is an annual, internationally-recognized week of building that brings attention to the need for simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with lowincome families. President and Mrs. Carter have given one week of their time each year since 1984 to help build Habitat homes and raise awareness about the need for simple, decent housing. The Carter Work Project has been held in India, Korea, The Philippines, Mexico, South Africa, Hungary and throughout the United States. The build project in Qionglai City has also been made possible by the ongoing support from Habitat’s multi-country sponsors who also contributed to China, including Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), global cooperation DOW Chemical, Citi and Citi Foundation, The Bharti Charitable Foundation, PepsiCo (also sponsoring bottled water and their newly-launched herbal drink CBL (草本樂) to all volunteers during the five-day build), multinational engineering and construction contractor Fluor, Island Evangelical Community Church, global payment services company MoneyGram, hotel group Marriott International, fashionable brand Skechers and home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool. For more information regarding 2009 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, please visit www.habitatchina.org. – End –
Published on May 13, 2011
Led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, 238 volunteers over the past week have worked relentlessly to build 16 aff...