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Habitat For Humanity Prepares To Celebrate World Habitat Day In The Asia-Pacific Region

Events ranged from contests in New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam to Everest Build volunteers raising tools in Nepal


09_13_2012_habitat_prepares_to_celebrateWorld Habitat Day-related campaigns, contest and video from (top) HFH Singapore, HFH New Zealand, HFH Korea and HFH India.

BANGKOK, 13 September 2012: In less than a month’s time, Habitat for Humanity and affiliated organizations around the world will be launching hundreds of local events―from builds and flash mobs to parades, contests, forums and everything in between―to draw attention to the urgent need for affordable shelter for everyone.

This year’s World Habitat Day falls on 1 October. The United Nations designates the first Monday in October of every year as a global day to highlight the desperate need for adequate housing. 

There are 1.6 billion people, or one in every five people, in the world who live in slums and other substandard housing. On World Habitat Day, Habitat for Humanity aims to raise awareness and advocate for decent housing worldwide, to work toward breaking down the systems that reinforce poverty housing and realizing the vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

This year’s theme “Many Homes, One Community” emphasizes the crucial role of housing in a community’s progress.

In the Asia-Pacific region, exciting and myriad events and activities have been planned to commemorate World Habitat Day and beyond. 

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is the first to kick off World Habitat Day celebrations in the region with its “Build Challenge.” From 7 September to 7 October, Kiwis are invited to build their dream houses for Habitat out of LEGO blocks. Participants can build at home with their own LEGO blocks or join one of more than 30 events around the country during HFH New Zealand’s Habitat Awareness Week (1 to 7 October). All model houses will be photographed and uploaded to the “Build Challenge” website for voting. LEGO prizes will be awarded in three categories by age: 3 to 7, 8 to 13, 14 and above. 

Next in the line-up is HFH Vietnam’s photography contest which will be held for the second consecutive year. With the theme of “Many Houses, One Community”, the contest runs from 21 September to 19 October. Information on eligibility, prizes and rules and regulations will be available on HFH Vietnam’s website starting from 21 September.

A few days later, HFH Singapore will launch its “ST.O.P. Strike Off Poverty” campaign to encourage supporters to raise funds in the most creative ways imaginable. Be it a birthday celebration, a high tea, a movie screening, a personal challenge or a dare-devil stunt, all funds raised through the campaign will help Habitat to build homes, communities and hope. The top fund-raising team will receive four economy class return air tickets from Singapore to Hong Kong, sponsored by Cathay Pacific.

HFH Korea has roped in its long-time ambassador and actor Seo-Jin Lee for an online donation campaign “Hello, My House!” A video for the campaign features Lee appealing for donations with footage of people around the world who are living in inadequate housing or do not have a roof over their heads. The two-month campaign, which will begin in late September, will be hosted on HFH Korea’s website and publicized through its blog, social media platforms and text messaging. 

In India, World Habitat Day 2012 will mark the culmination of a month-long employee-giving campaign with Citibank, one of Habitat for Humanity India’s strongest supporters. Citibank’s staff members are invited to each pledge to donate a small sum of money―equivalent to a cup of coffee or a meal―to HFH India every month. Other international and local corporations supporting their employees’ participation in the “Let’s Build―you can make a difference” campaign include World Bank and Nokia in Delhi; Timken, NVIDIA, Northern Trust, YES BANK, ING Vysya, Intel, Cisco, Applied Materials and Atkins in Bangalore.

Others who are celebrating on 1 October include HFH Mongolia. In the Land of Blue Sky, Habitat partner families, staff, volunteers and donors will observe World Habitat Day with home construction and dedication ceremonies in the cities of Erdenet, Darkhan, Khangai and Ulaanbaatar.

HFH Cambodia will focus on promoting cleanliness in homes and communities. Starting from 1 October, Habitat will mobilize Cambodian volunteers in one community to repair and spruce up homes, clean up the surroundings and organize a personal hygiene and sanitation public education event. Visit HFH Cambodia’s Facebook page for more details.

On 7 October, HFH Nepal will kick off its week-long 40-house “Everest Build” with more than 600 international and local volunteers gathering to hear the World Habitat Day message. Thereafter, the volunteers, who will be spread over three build sites, will raise their tools in unison at 10.07am local time before they get down to work. (The time is chosen because 10.07am represents 7 October when the “Everest Build” starts.)

Rounding up the line-up of celebrations is HFH Australia which will be holding an appreciation event for its major supporters on 11 October. HFH Australia will unveil its results for the latest financial year and present the impact of its work in the country and the Asia-Pacific region. The event will also be a networking opportunity for major donors, corporate partners and an “inner circle” of avid supporters. Guests will hear a special update from Bernadette Bolo-Duthy, national director of HFH Cambodia which has partnered with HFH Australia on various projects since 2004.

Habitat for Humanity’s observance of World Habitat Day in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond will culminate in the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The Habitat flagship annual event will return to earthquake-affected Haiti for the second year in a row. The special build will be held from 23 November to 1 December in Leogane, near the epicenter of the January 2010 earthquake.

World Habitat Day was established in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly to turn the spotlight on the need for adequate shelter worldwide. Through the years, Habitat for Humanity’s affiliates and national organizations across the world have been raising their collective voice, taking action to change the systems, policies and attitudes that lead to poverty housing, and engaging partners in solutions.