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The Heavens Opened In Vietnam, But The Groundbreaking Ceremony Went On

Habitat for Humanity and Partners Open The Way For “Rainbow Village” Resettlement Project

RACH GIA, KIEN GIANG, 29th August 2008: Stormy weathers didn’t prevent a large turnout for the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the “Rainbow Village”, a new resettlement community being built in Rach Gia, capital city of Kien Giang province, in southwestern Vietnam.


Rain, what rain?”: Habitat’s Nick Alexander (third from right) and VIPs brave the elements to launch the Rainbow Village project to help 120 families.


More than 100 people braved imminent rain and threatening clouds to celebrate the beginning of a project that will eventually see some 120 families moved off a garbage dump and into decent homes

The project is being built by Habitat for Humanity and Catalyst Foundation. Catalyst Foundation is a non-profit, non-political organization working to improve the lives of orphaned, abandoned and homeless children in Vietnam

The groundbreaking ceremony attracted members of the provincial communist party, the people’s committee, and Kien Giang Union of Friendship Office, as well as key staff from both Habitat for Humanity and Catalyst Foundation.

Most significantly, over 50 members from the Vinh Quang “dumpsite community” were on hand to see the very first soil being turned on the place where their new homes, and a vocational training centre will be built.

The vice chairman of the People’s Committee, Nguyen Cong Huynh, and chairman of the friendship office, Nguyen Van Hong, both spoke about the contribution that the Rainbow Village project would make to poverty alleviation, as well as the impact of providing decent shelter and job opportunities on individuals’ lives.

The weather remained threatening while the formalities and speeches took place in the safety of a tent. For the actual groundbreaking, the heavens opened.

In good spirits and to much delight of onlookers, the selected delegates including the national director of Habitat for Humanity’s Vietnam operations, Nick Alexander, marched through ankle deep water to pick up their shovels and turn the soil - a symbolic gesture that will literally translate into safe and decent housing for people in need.

The day recognized and celebrated all the achievements that have been made in the project thus far as a result of demonstrated commitment and collaborative partnerships, to help an entire community access housing, water and sanitation, education and employment.

Le Thi Phuong Mai, who used to live and work on the garbage dumpsite expressed her optimism and hope for the future: “Thanks to the scholarship program, our children can now go to school…and today marks a new day with the promise of a ‘dream house’ for all of us”.