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Volunteers from Ford Thailand to continue building with Habitat after completion of tsunami recovery program

More than 450 Ford staff have completed 24 houses, made over 24,000 roof tiles

PHUKET, 1st September 2006: A strong spirit of volunteerism is evident in Ford Thailand’s staff who have contributed time and labor to Habitat for Humanity’s tsunami recovery program in Thailand since April 2005.

Proud owners: Homepartner Ekarat Klewklong and his wife Suchada at their new home in Koh Nok on Phuket

Teamwork: Ford volunteers working on a house in the community of Sirey, an island off Phuket

Hitting home: Volunteering on Habitat builds enabled Ford staff to see the difference they made to others’ lives.

More than 450 volunteers from Ford Thailand have completed a total of 24 houses. They have also done 22 house renovations and seven repairs. In addition, the volunteers produced over 24,000 roof tiles through the Habitat Resource Center.

Their contributions on Habitat builds began when Ford Thailand’s president John Pelice was seeking to respond to the urgent needs of families hit by the December 2004 Asian tsunami.

“Ford Thailand is a member of Thai society and our responsibility is to help Thai people in need of support and one of the most important is a decent home through Habitat for Humanity,” said Ford’s director of marketing and corporate division, Komkrit Nongsawat, at a recent house dedication. The ceremony was for 21 houses that Ford volunteers worked on over the past month in the tsunami-affected village of Koh Nok on Phuket.

Ford team leader Pisit Ngam Charoen, who has made a total of 26 volunteer trips, said: “Our involvement with Habitat has been a very good way to build team spirit among our Ford volunteers. They see the need for the families to have a decent house to live in and they also see how they have helped make that possible.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the new house of Habitat homepartner Ekarat Klewklong, 22 and his wife Suchada, 19, and their two children, Nattasak, one, and baby Jakrit. They were surrounded by the other 20 Habitat homepartners, Ford volunteers and Habitat staff who had worked on their homes.

“This is all we could wish for,” said Suchada. “Before, our house was dark and cold. We may be poor but we feel warm and secure in our new house.”

As the tsunami project is close to completion, Ford Thailand has plans to continue supporting HFH Thailand.

From 6th to 9th September, Ford volunteers will help to construct eight houses in Korat as part of the “Caring Week” project, a collaboration between Ford and Habitat which officially takes place from 6th to 17th  September.