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About 800 Volunteers Worked With Habitat Families In Korea Blitz Build

56 Homes Were Built Over 5 Days On Various Sites

SEOUL, 17th August 2007: Since 2001 when Habitat for Humanity Korea hosted the Jimmy Carter Work Project, it has been continuing to hold blitz builds to mobilize large numbers of volunteers to help families in need.

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Summer job: The volunteers worked on various tasks such as roofing and building external roofs.

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Reward: A common sentiment expressed among the volunteers was that they gained more than they received.

This year is no exception. During the recent Korea Blitz Build, about 800 volunteers helped to build 56 homes  in six areas around the country. HFH Korea’s affiliates in Cheonan, Chuncheon, Daegu, Gunsan, Jinju and Northern Gyungi hosted the volunteers during the five-day event.

The volunteers came from different walks of life with the majority being local university students. The corporate volunteers were drawn from Korean businesses such as Korean Air, steel giant Posco and conglomerate Samsung, as well as the local offices of overseas firms such as cement group Lafarge and agricultural products group Cargill. Among senior executives present were Eric A Nielson, CEO of Volvo Construction Equipment Korea and Kim Ho-yeon, chairman of confectionary maker Bingrae Co. Ltd.

HFH Korea’s goodwill ambassadors, TV stars Lee Jae-ryong and Yoo Ho-jung, also built together with the volunteers and home partners. Chairman of HFH Korea’s board, Chung Kun-mo, was there too to lend a hand. At the end of the first day’s build, singer Jadu jazzed up the evening by entertaining volunteers.

During the five days, volunteers helped to build external walls, put up windows, roofing, ceiling as well as painting. Each house measured about 60 sq.m. in size and comprised two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a bathroom.

While a good part of the houses was completed, other electrical, piping and plumbing works are ongoing. The houses also require heating systems to be installed for protection against the harsh Korean winter.

The 56 families are expected to move into their new homes at the end of September during the Choo-seok, or thanksgiving national holidays.

The volunteers found the blitz build to be a meaningful way of spending their vacation. Many discovered that, though they went with a mind to contribute, they actually learnt and gained more from the home partners.

Among the parents who volunteered with their teenaged children, a frequent comment heard was: “My child changed his attitude and values during the Korea Blitz Build.”

Home partners, on their part, were thankful for the volunteers who persevered with building during the hottest season of the year. Touched by the help they received, the home partners are spurred to reach out to others in need.

The Korea Blitz Build 2007 was supported by funds raised during a HFH Korea fashion show earlier this year. This raised more than US$291,500.