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HFH Thailand Dedicates New Community Center At 2009 Carter Work Project Site In Chiang Mai

Guests Include All 82 Families And Sponsors Such As FedEx, Amway and American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand

CHIANG MAI, 4th February 2010: The community center at Nong Kon Kru village, the main 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project site, in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, was recently officially dedicated.

 

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Children enjoying the facilities at the new community center.

 

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Amway staff (in red) playing with the children of Habitat home partner families in the library at the community center.

 

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(From left) Judy Benn, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand; David Carden, managing director of FedEx Thailand and Indochina; Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, chair of HFH Thailand’s board of directors; Preecah Prakobkit, managing director of Amway (Thailand) and Michael Morrow, US Consul General based in Chiang Mai.

 


 

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Community leader Kumsaen Suon with his wife Pimpa, daughter Prempree and son Mongkut outside their new Habitat house.

 

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The efforts of volunteers, both international and local, were remembered with gratitude by both Habitat’s corporate supporters and home partners.

Among the more than 300 people on hand were members of all 82 families as well as officials and representatives from donors. Most of the families have moved into their new homes with the remaining expected to do so in the next few weeks.

The community center was built with support from Amway (Thailand), FedEx and the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand.

Preecah Prakobkit, managing director of Amway (Thailand), explained that they had donated new toys and books to the library and a play room set up for the community center. The firm is an arm of the direct selling company headquartered in Ada, Michigan in the USA.

Logistics services company FedEx, based in Tennessee, USA, contributed to the center’s construction. David Carden, managing director of FedEx Thailand and Indochina, said: “Last year FedEx helped to sponsor this community center so we are very honored to be part of this project. A few months ago this area was just a piece of land. Now there are homes and this community center and everyone here should be proud to be a part of this. It was a rare and heartfelt experience to work along the home partners and volunteers to make this all happen.”

Other guests included Michael Morrow, the US Consul General based in Chiang Mai, and Judy Benn, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand.

In his address, Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, chair of HFH Thailand’s board of directors said: “This community and this village come from the help of people you did not know before — the volunteers and donors who helped build your homes. During the five days of the project you built your homes with their help and now it is your duty to take care of your community.”

At the end of the dedication ceremony, Habitat home partner and newly-appointed community leader Kumsaen Suon said: “We have gained much self respect now that we are home owners. I am so happy for all the support that the volunteers and Habitat gave us.”

The committee, led by Kumsaen, will meet monthly and discuss matters such as water and electricity supply, security and cleanliness, plans to organize savings groups as well as to conduct adult education classes and disseminate information on hygiene and health.

“We have a duty to make this community successful and to make this community center a place where all the families can come together,” he added.

“We gave a name to this community in Thai, ‘Ban Mai Sa Makee’, which means ‘New community, new unity’, ” Kumsaen said.

Children of the home partners were already enjoying the new community center, merrily playing games and cycling around the compound.

Home partner Tatiya Sapithak was among the families who attended the ceremony. Together with her husband Wirat, 41-yar-old Tatiya runs a noodle stall in Chiang Mai city where their two children attend a local school.

“We moved in our new home on 19th December and we just love it here,” Tatiya said. “Our daughters have many friends already and we finally feel that now we have a special security in our lives we did not have before.”

Another home partner Wandee Wiwatsanthi still has fond memories of working alongside volunteers. “The group of ten Koreans from KOICA and 15 Thai volunteers who worked on my house worked very hard. We laughed a lot…I will never forget the generosity of the volunteers who worked alongside me in the hot sun.

Summing up the sentiments of many who have moved into their new homes, Guang Matip said: “I am so happy to be here.” She continued: “In the evenings I like to go for a walk and stand outside and just look at my house. People think I am a little crazy because I say out loud, ‘Oh my house is so beautiful.’ ”