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Asia’s youth gathers in thousands for a blitz build challenge

May 11, 2012

500 families supported in 5 countries by Habitat for Humanity Youth BUILD volunteers committed to tackling poverty housing.

Bangkok, 11 May 2012 – Tomorrow, martial arts movie star Jet Li joins around 4,000 young Habitat for Humanity volunteers laying bricks, mixing cement and wielding hammers to help more than 500 families in China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand in just one day.

“I believe everyone should have a place to call home,” said Jet Li, who will take part at a build site in Guangdong, China, one of the fifteen Habitat Youth BUILD sites.

In two countries, volunteers will be helping people affected by recent disasters. In Thailand, volunteers will build a community center for families affected by the severe flooding last year, which will serve as an evacuation center during disasters. In the Philippines, 200 homes will be built for families who lost their houses after Typhoon Nesat and Severe Tropical Storm Washi.

“We are very excited to know we will have a new house soon,” said Filipino Peter Edrote, 31, married to Nelinda, 36, and father to two young girls. “We have lived in a tent for over four months now and it feels good to know that we will soon have a house.”

The simultaneous multi-country build event marks the culmination of the five-month long Habitat for Humanity Youth BUILD campaign to raise funds for, and awareness of, the dire housing situation in the Asia-Pacific region. Tens of thousands of young people have used their social and digital networks to encourage people to donate and more than 1 million people have been reached with the campaign’s message.

Habitat for Humanity ambassadors like Filipino boxer turned politician Manny Pacquiao, Hong Kong actress and singer-songwriter Karen Mok, Bollywood actress Aditi Rao Hydari, Indonesian singer Delon Thamrin, Filipino actor Matteo Guidicelli, Hong Kong entrepreneur Christie Wo, Indian American actor Omi Vaidya, Filipino theater actress Cris Villonco, and Thai pop singer and pianist Tor Saksit have all lent their support to Habitat’s Youth BUILD.

“We are overwhelmed by the great online response to the Habitat Youth BUILD campaign. Asia’s youth have really taken the cause of tackling substandard housing to heart and run with it,” said Rick Hathaway, Asia-Pacific vice president for Habitat for Humanity International. “Having a decent home can transform lives, as it opens the doors to improved health, better performance in school, greater economic opportunities and increased community spirit.”

The United Nations estimates that more than 500 million people in the Asia-Pacific region live in slums, representing more than half of the world’s slum dwellers. Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

To donate, view the ambassador video, or just for more information, visit habitatyouthbuild.org. Use #habitatyouthbuild to raise awareness online.

Notes to Editors
To set up interviews with any of Habitat Youth BUILD 2012’s celebrity supporters, receive photography or further information, please contact Heron Holloway, +65 9068 1892 / +66 879 710 174 / hholloway@habitat.org or Michele Soh, +65 9233 1544 / +66 832 484 631 / msoh@habitat.org

Habitat Youth BUILD events on 12 May 2012 will be taking place in:
• Shuiweidong, Conghua district, Guangdong province, China
• Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore, India
• Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Yogyakarta, Bandung, Manado, Indonesia
• Barangay Tanza, Navotas, and Calaanan, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
• Bang Ban, Ayutthaya, Thailand

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by building and improving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. An estimated 17,000 of these families are in Europe and Central Asia, where Habitat has been active since the mid-1990s. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.habitateurope.org.