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Welcome to the European Year of Volunteering

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Young volunteers from Zurich International School spent a week building homes in Macedonia.

Year 2011 welcomes an event of major significance for the European volunteer movement, and Habitat for Humanity is ready to be part of it. The European Commission has proclaimed 2011 the European Year of Volunteering.

Habitat for Humanity in Europe and Central Asia invites volunteers from around the world to join efforts to eliminate poverty housing and show the positive impact that volunteers bring. Unfortunately, more than 20 years since the collapse of communism, volunteerism still carries the stigma of volunteer work that was mandatory in many communities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Habitat believes that those volunteers who travel to build and repair houses with low-income families can empower the people in housing need to become agents of change in their communities and a force to transform their countries. Now, volunteer support is needed more than ever as the low-income families Habitat supports have been hugely affected by the economic crisis.

This year, eight countries of the region welcome volunteers through the Global Village program: Armenia, Hungary, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Tajikistan. Habitat’s aim is to support 4,000 families throughout the region, and we need a lot of help to make this goal a reality.

Habitat invites volunteers to complete homes affected by the 1988 earthquake in Armenia; to improve housing for institutionalized communities in Hungary, Macedonia and Poland; to support Roma communities in Macedonia or Romania; to build new apartments in Macedonia, Romania or Tajikistan; to renovate homes in Macedonia, Romania or Portugal and to protect them from the effects of earthquakes in Tajikistan. Please join one of the open teams to Europe and Central Asia or form your own team.

Your volunteering experience will be unforgettable both for you and the communities you support. Here is a glimpse of Macedonia from one of the volunteers: “This has been such an enriching experience, from chipping cement off blocks with the construction supervisor, to meeting the mayor and the fun social time. This trip was tremendous”.

Habitat looks forward to welcoming you and your team in Europe and Central Asia! You can support low-income families to overcome their housing need and empower local volunteers to transform their countries.

You can also visit the official European Year of Volunteering web portal to share your personal volunteering experience with Habitat for Humanity.

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our donations page to support projects in Europe and Central Asia.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in Europe and Central Asia.

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