HFH Korea Celebrates 1,000th House Built
It Also Holds Inaugural “Under No Roof” Advocacy Event With Nearly 500 Participants
GYEONGGI, 25th November 2008: Habitat for Humanity Korea recently dedicated its 1,000th house together with three others in the northwest Gyeonggi province.
The dedication ceremony in the Unification Village in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju City, was attended by about 100 people including representatives from donors, home partners, local celebrities and Habitat leaders.
The 1,000th Habitat home partners are daily wage laborer Han Su-bok, and his wife and two daughters. Before they moved into their Habitat home, they had rented accommodation in Munsan city, Gyeonggi for years. A letter from Han’s wife was read out at the ceremony. In it, Lee Young-sil said: "I will raise my children to become helpers for other people in need like those who have helped our family to have a home."
The guests who attended the dedication ceremony visited the home partners at their new houses, singing a song of blessing, presented flowers and prayed for their happiness.
Before rejoicing with its 1,000 family served, HFH Korea held its inaugural “Under No Roof” advocacy event. Nearly 500 people, mostly high school and university students, gathered at Hanyang University in the capital Seoul. The two-day event was pioneered by HFH Singapore in 2003.
On the first day, the participants were divided into teams and underwent a disaster simulation exercise. The display of post-earthquake images and the sounds of sirens injected some elements of realism. Members of the teams were “evacuated” to different stations, representing a hospital, a school and so on, to simulate the separation anxiety of families in such situations.
In the evening, the participants joined Habitat donors and volunteers for a concert by the Euro-Asian Philharmonic Orchestra.
Before retiring to bed, the participants had to first build themselves shelters from cardboard and styrofoam donated by a local company. Spending the night in these shelters in the open gave participants a taste of the plight of the homeless.
The next day, the task for the teams was to “build” their model Habitat houses using paper “bricks”. Similar to the original Singapore event, the teams were assessed based not only on the shelters they built but also their performance in team-building games, disaster simulations and fundraising efforts.
Teams also let their creativity flow by painting their visions of peace on 3 x 1.5m. canvas which were to be donated to UNESCO. The gesture was in support of the United Nations’ 2001-2010 International Decade for A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
At the end of the event, some participants said they were able to appreciate the importance of a decent and secure house. The disaster simulation program also served as a strong reminder of the devastating effects of catastrophes on families.