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HFH Cambodia’s First Official Volunteer Build Kicks Off In Community For Former Slum-dwellers

Habitat to build or renovate homes for more than 3,000 families in next five years

PHNOM PENH, 22nd February 2006: Habitat for Humanity Cambodia organized its first official volunteer build on 12th February 2006 in the community of Samaki, about 20 km. from the capital Phnom Penh.

Twenty-five international and local volunteers came together to build a house for 36-year-old Ky Thol and his family of five.
The village of Samaki was created by the Cambodian government in 2001 when it offered land to families who were living in the slums of Phnom Penh.

Throughout the one-day build under the sweltering sun, Ky Thol and his father Ky Sok, who are both skilled construction workers, worked alongside the volunteers.

The two of them taught the volunteers to lay the foundation and begin the framing of the 4 m. by 6 m. concrete and brick house.

On the job: The volunteers were taught how to lay the foundation for Ky Thol’s new house and to set up the framing

When it is completed in about two weeks’ time, the house will comprise one bedroom, a kitchen and an outdoor toilet.

Ky Thol’s joy was evident to all. Beaming, he said: “I am so happy that everyone has come to help my family build my new home. I just hope that more volunteers can come again so we can finish it.”

HFH Cambodia hopes to continue with the build on 24th February. It is estimated that the rest of Ky Thol’s house can be completed in three days with the aid of five volunteers who are skilled in brick-laying, plastering and finishing works.

The majority of the volunteers were Australian and American staff from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia. The volunteers also included a Cambodian employed in an NGO, two partner families from the neighborhood and local volunteer construction workers.

David Pred, a dedicated volunteer, shared his satisfaction: “It’s so nice to actually see tangible results to development work.”

The last four Habitat houses in Samaki were built by skilled and unskilled labor in the community.

HFH Cambodia has completed 46 houses with another two homes being built. In the next five years, HFH Cambodia plans to build and renovate 1,500 homes, providing safe, affordable and decent shelter to more than 3,000 families living in the provinces of Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Phnom Penh.