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Habitat For Humanity CEO Completes Asian Tour

Jonathan Reckford Visits The Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mumbai And Bangalore

BANGKOK, 31st August 2010:
Habitat for Humanity International’s chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford ended his four-country tour of Asia recently. His trip to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand and two cities in India – Mumbai and Bangalore – took in visits to project sites, meetings with corporate supporters, government and non-governmental organization partners, a church, volunteers, journalists and staff.


Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford at HFH China’s Tai O restoration project in Hong Kong’s Lantau island.


Reckford visiting HFH Philippines’ flagship project in Calauan where he also talked to a few Habitat families.


Reckford built together with local chief executives and Habitat home partners in Bangalore, southern India.


In Mumbai, western India, Reckford met Rajashree Birla, co-chair of IndiaBUILDS. He also addressed a group of CEOs.

Reckford began with a visit to the site of Habitat for Humanity Philippines’ flagship project in Calauan, Laguna province, southwest of Metro Manila. The housing project is part of a comprehensive seven-year plan to transform the lives of families who were once living in inadequate shelter along the Pasig River.

At a gala dinner to induct the country’s Habitat Youth Council, Reckford commended HFH Philippines for their pioneering endeavors and innovations in low-cost housing solutions. Kris Aquino, a TV host and actress, led the five pioneering members of the Youth Council in a pledge of support to galvanize Filipino youth. The evening was attended by the country’s new vice president and head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council, Jejomar “JoJo” Binay. The dinner was also an opportunity to thank over a hundred donors and partners for the continuous support they have afforded the Habitat ministry.

The chief executive then visited HFH China’s Tai O restoration project on the western end of Hong Kong’s Lantau island, near the international airport. Through the Tai O project, HFH China is providing safe housing to people in need and helping a coastal community to preserve its cultural heritage. Reckford met corporate and student volunteers working on rehabilitating traditional homes built on stilts over the sea. Hong Kong entertainers Karen Mok and Terence Yin were on hand at the work site.

On his next stop, in Bangkok, he handed out long service awards to staff at Habitat’s Asia-Pacific area office before visiting the new executive leadership and staff at the HFH Thailand national office.

In Bangalore, the “Silicon Valley of India”, Reckford joined a build featuring local chief executives, an initiative to build homes alongside those in need of decent shelter in an area northeast of the city in Kothur, Rammurthy Nagar. About 20 leaders from companies such as Timken, Thomson Reuters, Northern Trust, Biralsoft, YES Bank, Dell Services, Applied Materials and CISCO were part of the event. In the evening, he met with the leaders of about 50 prominent Christian organizations.

Reckford spoke on the theme of corporate social responsibility at two gatherings of business leaders during the tour. In Mumbai, he addressed a gathering of CEOs at a function organized by the FICCI Aditya Birla CSR Centre for Excellence. Earlier, in Hong Kong, he was the keynote speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce lunch.

At both events, Reckford pointed out that corporations often started partnering with Habitat to improve their public image, but soon found that being perceived as a good corporate citizen attracted and retained staff, especially young people who wanted to work in businesses which contributed to the communities in which they operated.

Throughout the trip, Reckford spoke to local journalists about recent developments in Habitat for Humanity. There was also media interest in how his career had taken him from Wall Street to corporations to church management and finally to Habitat.

In Hong Kong, Reckford also addressed two church services at Union Church, Kennedy Road.

Reckford said: “I returned so encouraged by the extraordinary progress and potential for our ministry in Asia. The capital campaign is building momentum with great volunteer and staff leadership, highlighted by our India chair, Mrs Rajashree Birla, announcing a target for India to reach 100,000 families served in the next four years (an additional 65,000 families!).

“As always, the chance to see our work firsthand and spend time with partner families both inspires me and convicts me that we have to do more.”