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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter And His Wife, Rosalynn, Join Thousands Of Volunteers In Asia For Annual Habitat For Humanity Build

Volunteers Join Future Homeowners To Help Build And Repair Over 166 Houses In Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, And Laos As Part Of Habitat’s Annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project

BANGKOK, 21st October 2009: Former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will lead the annual Habitat for Humanity build bearing their name in five Asian countries from 15th -20th November.


Habitat volunteers at the third test build at the main Carter Work Project site in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo by Victor Hanzel Sarceda


Future Habitat homeowners contributing sweat equity or their own labor at the Cambodian site in Oudong. Photos by Mikel Flamm.


One of the families who will benefit from the Carter Work Project in Vietnam are Dao Thi Hai, her daughter Dao Thi Huong, 10, and son Dao Van Bien, 6. The children currently live with their grandparents as Hai and her husband work and live on a fishing boat in a community about 30 km. away.

The Carters and nearly 3,000 volunteers from around the world will build and repair 166 homes in Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia and Laos — all countries along the Mekong River. In the Mekong River basin, nearly one-fifth of the population lives in poverty — many on less than the equivalent of one US dollar per day.

“In an area of the world where many people live in deplorable conditions, we have a chance to help families improve their housing,” said former President Jimmy Carter. “Over the years I have seen the lasting impact Habitat for Humanity volunteers can have, and I have been personally touched by the work they are doing around the world.”

Among the volunteers building alongside families will be local and international celebrities from Asia and around the world.

Country music stars from the USA, Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood, are scheduled to build with the Carters. The couple has worked on numerous Habitat build sites in recent years.

Other celebrity volunteers will include Hong Kong movie stars and singers Karen Mok and Aaron Kwok; from India, Bollywood superstar and Habitat for Humanity India supporter John Abraham along with fellow countryman, actor R. “Maddy” Madhavan; Jacqueline Fernandez, actress, model, and talk show presenter from Sri Lanka, South Korean TV and acting sensation Lee Seo Jin; and Habitat for Humanity Thailand’s goodwill ambassador, singer and actor Rattapoom “Film” Tokongsub.

Habitat for Humanity of Thailand will anchor the five-country Carter Work Project, where volunteers will build a community of 82 houses with families in Nong Kon Kru village, San Sai district, Chiang Mai province. The number 82 was chosen to honor the 82nd birthday on 5th December of the Thai king, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Habitat volunteers in Cambodia will build 21 houses in Damnak Thom village with families who will be relocating from a dumpsite near Phnom Penh.

Thirty-two houses will be built by Habitat homeowners and volunteers in Vietnam’s Dong Xa village near Hanoi.

In China, Habitat is working with local government authorities in Qionglai city, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, in a project to build a series of multi-story, urban housing units that will eventually house hundreds of families. Habitat volunteers will help construct 20 Habitat for Humanity units during the Carter project.

Additionally, in Laos, Habitat volunteers and families will refurbish 11 homes in Ban Chawang village, 30 minutes outside the capital city of Vientiane.

“With the help of President and Mrs. Carter and the thousands of devoted Habitat volunteers, the Carter Work Project will result not only in better housing for families who urgently need it in the Mekong region, but in much-needed attention to the housing plight of so many families in this part of the world,” said Habitat for Humanity chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford. “Decent shelter helps transform lives and entire communities, and we’re grateful for the President and Mrs. Carter’s servant leadership.”

“Habitat for Humanity has a strong and growing presence in all the Mekong countries through a wide range of housing solutions,” said Richard Hathaway, vice president for Habitat for Humanity International’s Asia-Pacific region. “We are thankful to President and Mrs. Carter and the thousands of volunteers who will give programs in this area a major boost, allowing Habitat to serve even more families in need of decent shelter.”

Habitat’s Carter Work Project is an annual, internationally-recognized week of building that brings attention to the need for simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with low-income families. President and Mrs. Carter have given one week of their time each year since 1984 to help build Habitat homes and raise awareness about the need for simple, decent housing. The Carter Work Project has been held in India, South Korea, The Philippines, Mexico, South Africa, Hungary and throughout the United States.