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HFH Korea Marks 10th Anniversary Of Summer Blitz Build

Volunteers Build 30 Housing Units; HFH Korea Also Organizes 9th Annual Fundraising Fashion Show In Seoul

SEOUL, 24th August 2010: Habitat for Humanity marked the 10th anniversary of the Korea Blitz Build with more than 100 volunteers working in five areas recently.

Braving the scorching summer heat, the 113 volunteers were mobilized in Gunsan, Daejeon, Gwangyang, Inje and Yangpyeong to build 30 housing units over one week. Most of the volunteers came from colleges in Korea; several were from Junlim Architecture, a Korean company which designs the houses built by HFH Korea.

 

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Over 100 volunteers worked in five areas in South Korea to build 30 housing units.

 

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Volunteers giving each other a shoulder massage (left) before taking on more strenuous work (right).

 

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(Clockwise from top left) The mostly amateur models wore designs that featured, among others, a contemporary take on Korean traditional garb; Hyun-Ok Song, an academic married to Seoul’s mayor, on the catwalk; the bazaar by Harper’s Bazaar .

The Korea Blitz Build has been an annual event since 2001 when former U.S president Jimmy Carter led the Carter Work Project in Korea in 2001. He worked with more than 10,000 volunteers and Habitat families to build a total of 136 homes over five days.

A typical build day in one of the sites, Yangpyeong, on the outskirts of the capital Seoul, started with some light exercises. Volunteers stood in a single file, giving each other shoulder massage. Muscles were further stretched when the volunteers had to remove a two-meter-tall tree which fell at the build site.

Before 51-year-old Hyung-Joon Kim and his daughter got down to work, they uttered a prayer for safety. Kim’s daughter, a 21-year-old college student, traveled from Busan city to join him for the build.

On the second-floor of the two-story residential building, volunteers were diligently hammering nails to the outer walls of the units. Twenty-three-year-old Hye-Su Lee stood out for being able to hammer nails deep in with only two strikes.

The strong sunshine had volunteers such as 22-year-old Yun-Young Lee wishing for some respite from the clouds. Her wish was granted when a light rain fell in the afternoon.

During tea breaks, the roof-top was a favorite hangout with volunteers who welcomed the cool mountain breeze. Many volunteers also greeted the distribution of ice cream with glee.

On the last day of the build, it was time for group photos which showed broad smiles of satisfaction at a job well done.

Before the blitz build, HFH Korea had other supporters showing their glamorous side in its annual fashion show.

Now in its ninth year, the fundraising show held at Hyatt Hotel in Seoul attracted about 100 – mainly amateur – models.

The models wore traditional and modern designers by Korean designers such as Sul-Ryu Park, Kyung-Suk Park and Jung-Suk Kim.

Each model donated about US$1,000 to purchase their outfit and for the privilege of parading along the catwalk in front of the 1,000-strong audience of family and friends.

Showing off their design style were Hwa-Jin Sim, president of Sungshin Women’s University; Hyun-Ok Song, a professor at Sejong University and wife of Seoul mayor Se-Hoon Oh; Kwi-Ja Kim, vice president of CESCO; and Bang-Ja Kim, vice president of Kyunggi Broadcast.

Singer and actor Sang-Woo Lee added glitz as a facilitator at the event. Lee’s 15-year-old son, who suffers from autism, also took to the catwalk.

Cultural highlights were also part of the evening’s program with performances from the Korea National Ballet Company and soprano Mi-Ja Yu who sang from an opera aria “O Mio Babbino Caro” and from a waltz number “Ah! Je veux Vivre”. There was also a musical performance, “Chunhyang Jeon”, based on a traditional folk tale about a girl by the same name who protected her virtue for the sake of her bethrothed.

A bazaar organized by Harper’s Bazaar fashion magazine helped to raise some 42 million won (about US$36,000). Items on sale included cosmetics, shoes, clothes, fashion accessories, books and wine.

HFH Korea raised a total of 112 million won (about US$96,000) from the fashion show and the bazaar. The money will go toward supporting Habitat programs in Korea.