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HFH Thailand Hosts 27 Volunteer Teams Over Two Months

International Volunteers And Locally Based Corporate, Youth And Church Groups Build At Various Sites

BANGKOK, 14th April 2010: Habitat for Humanity Thailand had two bountiful months recently when it hosted a total of 27 volunteer teams at various project sites.

The Global Village volunteers came from Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, the U.S., and Europe and Central Asia.

 

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Volunteers from Ruamrudee International School working hard in Korat (above) and enjoying the fruit of their labor at the house dedication (below).

 

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Professor Hahn (above, far right) with volunteers from Yonsei University; the team’s joy at presenting a symbolic key to Habitat’s home partners (below).

 

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In addition to the international teams, local volunteers from corporate, youth and church groups were also active. A volunteer group from U.S.-headquartered health services company CIGNA built in Chiang Mai while the International School of Bangkok sent one team to Udon Thani and another one to Chiang Mai.

About 40 volunteers from Ruamrudee International School were in Korat to build homes with two Habitat families. In the same area, the Chaengwattana Community Church sent three volunteer teams to work alongside families in need.

Chanchanok Poolvoralaks, a student at Bangkok’s Ruamrudee International School, shared that “the building process was a tiring one. It was tiring, and quite frankly, my first experience in heavy manual labor. However, the absolute highlight was the completion of the houses. I have never been so touched by the villagers before…it made the experience such a rewarding one…our hard work has accomplished something here that will be remembered by them.”

Justine Suh, a volunteer from South Korea’s Yonsei University, said: “In terms of work, I liked learning and getting better in piling bricks. That was hard but when I finished, I felt proud. Besides getting the chance to build with the locals and learn the language, I loved visiting our wonderful cook.”

Staff from HFH Japan and HFH Korea who accompanied the volunteer teams also shared their own experiences. Jungmin Ahn, HFH Korea’s Global Village program coordinator, said: “Having accompanied Global Village teams to the Philippines, India and Indonesia and Thailand, it keeps my motivation to work for Habitat going. Besides getting to help people in need, I get the chance to know more about the needs from the volunteers’ side. I will use this to develop the volunteer program into a better one.”

Kentaro Yamazaki, HFH Japan’s volunteer program director, was all praises for the dedication of HFH Thailand’s staff. “Everything was great with their help and kind understanding. I really appreciate the hard work they do to take care of the teams from morning to evening.”

Habitat’s unique volunteer experience was what prompted team leaders to join the builds. Professor Jaehoon Hahn, who helped lead a team from Yonsei University in Seoul, said: “The MBA course has a social responsibility practice course to increase the awareness of importance of corporate social responsibility for managers and future CEOs. The school emphasizes the importance of business ethics and responsibility of managers for society as a whole. So we chose Habitat for Humanity because it offers direct contact with the recipient – the volunteer meets the home partner.”

Lincy Fu, advisor for the Interact Rotary Club at Ruamrudee International School, said: “The school always wanted the students to be ‘caring students’ and students are involved with various social activities such as visiting the blind children, and visiting the old folks home…throughout the year.

“Furthermore, the International Baccalaureate program that many of our students take also requires students to do 150 hours of CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service). Thus the Habitat project provides both the ‘action’ and service’ and the students earn 40 hours of CAS.

“I believe that Habitat provides a better sense of accomplishment as well as a complete picture in their efforts: the students raise the funds; they see exactly how the funds are being used; not only do they provide the monetary part – they are also able to dedicate their own time in helping out…they feel a sense of accomplishment because with their own two hands they were able to build a house from scratch until near completion whereas other social activities may not be able to provide such a complete sense of closure. Finally Habitat provides the flexibility for such events to happen in such a short period of time and under various circumstances, which perhaps is hard to find in other NGOs.”