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Habitat for Humanity Indonesia Marks 600th House Built In Tsunami-affected Aceh Barat

Brick production in new HRC in Meulaboh provides community with a means of livelihood

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From us to you: HFH Singapore national director Yong Teck Meng presenting a symbolic key to a homepartner family.

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Pull of the games: The ladies taking to the tug-of-war with gusto.

MEULABOH, 19th September 2006: Joy was in the air when Habitat for Humanity Indonesia and its Singapore counterpart celebrated the 600th house built in the tsunami-affected Aceh Barat district. Aceh Barat, in the Indonesian province of Aceh, was among the hardest hit by the December 2004 Asian tsunami.

A house dedication ceremony was held on 28th August in the village of Suak Keumunde in the Arongan Lambalek sub-district. Those present at the event included the national directors of HFH Indonesia, Handoko Ngadiman, and HFH Singapore, Yong Teck Meng, and district secretary Ridwan Nyakben representing the regent of Aceh Barat.

A picture exhibition on the reconstruction process kicked off the day’s events, followed by a traditional Acehnese dance, radup lampuan, to welcome guests. In a speech, Ridwan encouraged the people to move on in their lives with a positive attitude. He also thanked the people and the government of Singapore for their support of Aceh Barat’s reconstruction efforts.

The people of Singapore donated about S$14.3 million (nearly US$8.7 million) to the Singapore Red Cross that will fund the majority of Habitat’s tsunami projects in western Aceh.

The 600th house built in the Arongan Lambalek sub-district is also the 2,750th house completed for the tsunami recovery program in Indonesia.

At the ceremony, symbolic keys were presented to three families after which the guests visited some of the new houses built. An element of fun was injected when the villagers and guests took part in games such as gunny sack race and tug-of-war. The delighted smiles on the children’s faces were hard to miss when they received their prizes for winning the games.

Separately, a Habitat Resource Center (HRC) has been set up in Malabo, the capital of Aceh Barat. The HRC is capable of producing up to 17,000 concrete blocks per day. In addition, the HRC will focus on appropriate technology and provide a means of livelihood to the community by way of brick production.