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14,000 young people in seven countries gather for Habitat for Humanity’s largest youth volunteer build event in Asia

Over 400 houses built and more than 600 families supported

Close to 100,000 people took part in awareness-raising activities and on-site build events

Celebrities across the region lent their support, including Bollywood actor John Abraham


hyb_270413_web.jpg(Anti-clockwise from top left) Construction of more than 200 homes in Nepal; Japanese volunteers raised funds for ‘Rebuilding Japan’ earthquake response in run-up to 27 April; pledge to fight poverty housing in Cambodia; thousands of volunteers helped build homes in the Philippines; renovation of earthquake-hit Japanese community center; mass hand-holding in Nepal; onsite photo tweeted by Philippine volunteer Jayar Mendoza Ebero (@justBejB_22); Cambodian celebrities and Habitat ambassadors Ouk Sokun Kanha and Chhorn Sovannareach flanking HFH Cambodia’s national director Bernadette Bolo-Duthy.

BANGKOK (April 27, 2013) ― Nearly 14,000 young volunteers built homes in seven Asian countries today, signaling their commitment to tackling the poverty housing situation in the region where one in eight lives in slums, according to the United Nations. The event set a record for non-profit housing organization Habitat for Humanity as its largest ever youth volunteer build event in Asia.

Celebrity supporters across the region joined volunteers to build, or went online to lend their support, with Bollywood star John Abraham (@The_JohnAbraham) leading the way on Twitter.

Volunteers in China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal and the Philippines all took part in today’s event. Thousands more supported the campaign online through their social networks, raising awareness and saying ‘no’ to poverty housing.

Rick Hathaway, Habitat for Humanity vice president for Asia-Pacific, said: “More than 600 low-income families in the region took a big step closer to breaking the cycle of poverty today. The energy and commitment displayed by our Habitat Youth BUILD volunteers is just inspiring and I know, with their support, we can make the Habitat vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live a reality.”

As well as building more than 400 homes today, Habitat Youth BUILD volunteers have spent the last two months raising awareness and funds. Habitat for Humanity Nepal mobilized nearly 80,000 volunteers across the country to take part in various activities including song and art competitions, and a mass-participation hand-holding event on April 26 and 27. Local radio and TV stations supported the movement by broadcasting information about the housing need in Nepal.

In Japan, volunteers announced they had raised around 530,000 Japanese Yen (approx. US$5,374) through their Habitat Youth BUILD fundraising activities, for Habitat’s ‘Rebuilding Japan’ program ― supporting families affected by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Acknowledging the support of young volunteers that had travelled to Miyagi Prefecture, Kozukahara community leader, 64-year-old Naoshi Endo, said: “We need this youth power for recovery.”

“Habitat for Humanity’s Youth BUILD does not end today ― this is just a major stepping stone in tackling the poverty housing situation that exists across Asia-Pacific. Thousands of young people pledged their support today, and the campaign will just continue to grow. Next year’s Habitat Youth BUILD will involve yet more people and support many more families in need”, Hathaway added.

For more information on Habitat Youth BUILD: facebook/HabitatYouthBuildHYB