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Habitat for Humanity Australia Seeks To Benefit More Communities Across The Asia-Pacific Region Through Partnerships With Supporters

More than 800 houses to be built or renovated

SYDNEY, 22nd February 2006: Having won recognition at home for its collaborations, Habitat for Humanity Australia is set to leverage on its corporate and non-governmental organization partners to help people in need in even more communities in the Asia-Pacific region.

HFH Australia is seeking partnerships with Australian corporates and organizations which have interests in the markets where HFH Australia assists communities to build homes, says its chief executive officer George Macdonald.

Joint effort: Volunteers from Colmar Brunton, Australia’s largest independent ad-hoc market research agency, building houses in East Timor

HFH Australia’s current partners range from the private sector with Australia’s largest property group and others through church organizations to philanthropic trusts. Target markets are East Timor, Indonesia (including Aceh), the Philippines, Indo-China and Pacific island nations.

Based on its current projections for January to December 2006, Habitat partnerships are targeting 842 houses being built or renovated in Cambodia, East Timor, the Philippines and Indonesia. HFH Australia already has sponsorship commitments for the first 454 of these houses, and this figure will increase as current partners continue their funding, and new partners make new sponsorship commitments.

Through these partnerships, Habitat Australia has become the key non-governmental organization to provide permanent housing in the areas of the Indonesian province of Aceh that were devastated by the tsunami in December 2004.

The communities being helped are the immediate beneficiaries. Macdonald says: “A commitment which would assist us to build one or two homes in Australia can assist communities in the Asia-Pacific region to build 30 to 40 homes and in addition create the local capacity to build many more and improve all aspects of their lives.”

HFH Australia’s partners also gain from such tie-ups. “We recognize these partnerships as a valuable social investment by our partners which provides them with direct participation and profile opportunities,” says Macdonald.

HFH Australia’s partners in the Asia-Pacific include:

Australia’s largest property group LJ Hooker has donated A$165,000 (US$121,950) to partially fund the building of 82 houses in the village of Desa Tibang in Banda Aceh city, Indonesia. The remaining cost is to be borne by other sponsors including Mercy Corps and Sony BMG. No end date has been specified for the project.

The Australian philanthropic Pratt Foundation has donated A$100,000 (US$73,910) to build 13 houses in Indonesia.

Market research firm Colmar Brunton has signed a memorandum of understanding to sponsor A$65,000 (US$48,040) toward the renovation of 120 houses in East Timor in a project that is set to run until December 2007.

Australian-owned, publicly-listed global company Orica has donated A$100,000 (US$73,910) toward funding the equipment and operation costs of the Disaster Response Training Center in the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh.

Christian organization Baptist World Aid has donated A$250,000 (US$184,770) to partially fund the building of 125 houses in Kampung Mulia in tsunami-hit Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The remaining cost is to be borne by other sponsors including Mercy Corps. No end date has been specified for the project.

Sydney-based Catholic organization Bethlehem Communities Australia has committed A$25,000 (US$18,477) to build 25 houses in the district of Dulangan in the southern Philippine province of Davao del Sur. This is part of a wider rehousing project to construct 175 houses. The project is scheduled to end in 2009.

Sydney-based charity Communities for Communities is raising an estimated A$234,000 (US$172,945) to sponsor one-third of the cost of building 320 houses in Metro Cebu in south-eastern Philippines. This is part of a wider resettlement project which is expected to end in 2009. Other partners include Bethlehem Communities Australia, the overall project manager, the municipality of Talisay, the Cebu provincial government and local non-governmental organizations.

An anonymous foundation has committed US$431,484 to target the construction and renovation of 903 houses in Cambodia and East Timor.
For its partnerships back home, HFH Australia was named, together with PMI Mortgage Insurance, the national winner of Prime Minister’s Award for excellence in community business partnerships 2005 in the medium business category.

Down Under, Habitat’s Australian program has seen the completion of 60 houses and is targeting over 20 houses across five states in 2006. Already, more than 500 houses have been built with the help of HFH Australia in the Asia-Pacific in a program which is targeted to double every two years.

In addition, HFH Australia plans to send volunteer teams to Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Fiji, Cambodia, Thailand and India.