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Daimler Financial Services’ 60 Volunteers Build With HFH Indonesia’s Home Partners In Batam On “Day Of Caring”

Berlin-Headquartered Company Is Supporting New Homes For 20 Low-Income Families Through Habitat’s Save & Build Housing Microfinance Program

BATAM, 12th February 2009: With caring comes mutual benefits — that is the belief of Daimler Financial Services which sent a 60-member team to build with HFH Indonesia on Batam island. The two-day build was part of DFS’s Day of Caring in which employees of the Berlin-headquartered company, part of Daimler AG vehicle group, get time off and also use vacation time to work together on community projects.

The volunteers are staff of the company’s Africa and Asia-Pacific regional office and Mercedes Benz Financial Services in Singapore. The build was supported by the Daimler Financial Services’s corporate social responsibility team of Berlin.

 

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Hard work is no deterrent for enthusiastic volunteers from the Daimler team.

 

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The inside of the Malomi family’s shack before it was torn down.

 

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The effort of every volunteer counts.

Daimler Financial Services’ contribution was welcomed by HFH Indonesia. Based on United Nations and World Bank data, more than half of the 735,000 new housing units which Indonesia needs annually are for low-income families who cannot afford access to formal markets. “Batam alone needs decent homes for 30,000 families,” said Tri Budiardjo, national director of HFH Indonesia.

“Both sides benefit from a Day of Caring,” said Jatinder Singh, director for DFS’s Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. “On the one hand, poor families receive a simple but decent place to live. On the other hand, we as companies can perform our social responsibility and at the same time show and improve our teamwork skills.”

Elisem and Lasmaida Malomi and their five children are among the 20 low-income families in Batam whom Daimler Financial Services is supporting through Habitat’s Build & Save housing microfinance program.

Under Save & Build, families will save together as a group toward the construction of the homes. When the group has saved enough for one house, construction starts and the savings cycle continues until all members of the group have received their houses. The families have to make monthly repayments which go into HFH Indonesia’s revolving fund to help more families in need. Each Habitat home partner also has to contribute his or her own labor in house construction and assist other members of the savings group when they are building their houses. The land for these homes on Batam is provided free by the Indonesian government.

Before the arrival of the volunteers, the Malomi family had to tear down their shack which offered scant protection from the monsoon and pests. The lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitary facilities is also a problem for the low-income families in Indonesia such as the Malomis. With their new Habitat home, however, they can start looking up. Like most of the houses built by HFH Indonesia on Batam, the Malomis’ new house is designed to have two bedrooms, a living space, a small kitchen, a bathroom with toilet and a covered terrace.

On the final day of the build, the enthusiastic volunteers were undeterred by the warm and humid weather. After they were introduced to HFH Indonesia’s work on Batam and briefed on safety guidelines, the volunteers were raring to go. Together with the Malomi family, the volunteers dug the footings, the toilet pit, cut and tied steel reinforcement bars and mixed cement, among other tasks.

“Tomorrow I probably won’t be able to move. I feel every muscle and every bone,” said Kean Ka Teoh, who helped organize the Day of Caring together with the Daimler Financial Services’s corporate social responsibility team from Berlin. “However, I am very proud of what we achieved as a team here in Batam.”

For Jean Lee, who works in human resources at the regional office, the Day of Caring demonstrated teamwork underlined by a sense of responsibility. “As in our day-to-day work, it’s the contribution of each person that counts. Even if it’s exhausting, the objective can only be achieved as a team.”

For Habitat home partner Elisem Malmoi, the Day of Caring was especially significant as it represented the beginning of a better future for his family. They no longer have to endure heavy monsoon rains, bugs and snakes. The five children can have a safer and more conducive environment to study. Finally, decent housing is longer a dream but a reality.

It is the contact with the Malomi family that made the build special for Uwe Haller from business development. ‘Until now my social commitment was restricted to financial support in the form of donations. A Day of Caring, though, offers the opportunity to contribute actively, to get to know the people behind the stories and to see immediate results. Despite the tiring work, I am convinced that this hasn’t been my last commitment.”