Asia and Pacific Featured Program: China
The People’s Republic of China is located in eastern Asia where it borders Korea Bay, the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and the South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam. Because of its size, the climate and terrain is very diverse—from tropical in the south to subarctic in the north. More than 1.3 billion people live in China.
Standard Chinese (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages.
While rapid economic growth has greatly reduced abject poverty, the World Bank estimates that about 150 million people, or 11 percent of China’s population, still live on less than US$1 a day.
Habitat primarily works in rural areas in China, where homes are often made of unsafe materials. Electricity is common, but water comes from communal wells and sanitation facilities are not widely available. A typical Habitat home measures about 70 square meters in size, and is constructed with baked bricks, stone, concrete blocks or wood supplemented with a tiled roof. A reinforced-concrete flat-roof design is preferred, as home partners can use the space both for drying grain and for collecting rainwater.
With regular programs already in existence in Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan provinces, Habitat for Humanity China launched an initial appeal campaign in June 2008 for funds to rebuild homes after the disastrous earthquake. The 8.0 magnitude earthquake on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan province caused more than 5 million homes to collapse and some 20 million people to evacuate their houses.
Habitat for Humanity China was established in 2000. It began operations in 2002 in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province. In 2004, offices were opened in neighboring Guangxi and Guangdong provinces. The Guangxi office, based in the provincial capital Nanning, is the result of a strategic partnership with the Guangxi Poverty Alleviation Development Office and the Guangxi Disabled Persons’ Federation. The Guangdong office, based in the provincial capital Guangzhou, was set up as a result of a partnership with the Guangdong Disabled Persons’ Federation and the China Youth League.
In January 2006, Habitat China merged its operations in Hong Kong and China into a single entity. The move aimed to leverage on the resources and business acumen of Asia’s premier international city to promote Habitat China’s mission to provide decent housing in the world’s largest developing economy.
In August 2008, HFH China set up the Sichuan office, which is based in the provincial capital Chengdu, for the implementation of a long-term and sustainable post-earthquake rebuilding program. More than 15 million people were displaced by the Sichuan earthquake; five million of those people are homeless. The Habitat program in this area—of which global volunteers are vital parts—aims to help build more than 1,000 houses for the quake-affected families. Teams in Sichuan will be building in an area that was devastated by the earthquake.
Provinces of Guangdong, Yunnan, Guangxi and Sichuan.
Please note, the Sichuan location is a disaster response project. (See the Sichuan project flyer for more information.) Due to the uniqueness of this program, the experience varies slightly from other locations. The Sichuan project includes a higher donation, more accommodations, 8- and 15-day itinerary options and work focused on clean-up as opposed to building.
Team members should expect to stay at a hotel or a retreat center, depending on location. Rooms will be at least double-occupancy in a hotel. Some teams may stay in a shared space with a shared bath.
Please note, due to the disaster response efforts, only very basic accommodations are available for the Sichuan project.
Food and water
Breakfast is usually provided at the hotel or the retreat center, and lunch is usually provided by the affiliate and eaten at the work site. Dinner is taken at various restaurants or provided by the hotel or retreat center.
Types of construction for volunteers
The teams will be involved in a variety of tasks depending on the stage of construction. Tasks that teams may do include: dig foundations and hole for septic system, haul and move construction materials, mix cement, mortar blocks, install window and doors, backfilling and leveling the site and other tasks as assigned.
Please note, teams traveling to Sichuan may not work on a house. They may be working on clearing rubble, reclaiming materials and other tasks as assigned. It is very important for the teams to be flexible and to understand the challenges of the disaster response work.
Hosting structure and services
Habitat China does new-home construction as well as home renovations. Volunteers travel to our project villages to work side by side with partner families and community members to construct new homes. Your volunteer work not only helps build a home, but also demonstrates care and concern for those in need.
Day 1 (Typically Saturday): Depart for China.
Day 2 (Sunday): Arrive in Kunming City, Chengdu City, Nanning City, Guangzhou City, etc., depending on the project location; free time; dinner; overnight in arrival city unless close to project location.
Day 3 (Monday): Travel to project location; welcome and orientation with local staff member; visit project sites and families and work; welcome dinner.
Day 4–7 (Workdays, Tuesday–Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Days 8 and 9 (Saturday and Sunday): Free time for cultural activities. Sunday-travel to arrival city; free time; evaluation and debrief; final team dinner.
Day 10 (Monday) Departure day.
Starting at $1,650
View costs included in the standard budget.
*There is a higher donation associated with the Sichuan program, as it is a disaster response project.
12 team members
Volunteer Engagement specialist
If you have read the FAQs and have further questions before you submit a Global Village trip proposal, please contact the Asia and the Pacific volunteer engagement specialist.