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Tien Giang, Vietnam

August 23, 2013 to September 7, 2013

Join us in Vietnam to build new homes, make new friends and enjoy a unique opportunity to explore one of Asia’s most beautiful countries. Building with Habitat for Humanity in My Tho, along the legendary Mekong River in Tien Gang Province, will be an experience you won’t forget. At work and at rest we’re not just building homes, but are also building a sense of solidarity and community, while sharing an adventure in something meaningful and worthwhile. You’ll get your hands dirty, for sure, and you’ll need a sense of humor, a dose of flexibility and an open mind to get the job done. That’s the very small price you’ll pay for all the good you will do.



About Vietnam
Vietnam (“Viet Nam” in Vietnamese), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia, bordering China, Laos and Cambodia. It is a country of divine contrasts. The scene changes from the bustling and chaotic streets of Hanoi in the north, down 3,450 kilometers of coastline to the tranquil rice paddies and tropical islands in the south.

The country has experienced significant economic growth in the past two decades as the country shifted to a market style economy. A driving force for the future is Vietnam’s strongly motivated and educated population – the country boasts a 90 percent literacy rate. But while Vietnam has the second-fastest growing economy in Asia, it is still one of the poorest countries in the region. A 2004 census estimated 19.5 percent of Vietnamese lived below the national poverty line. Substandard housing in Vietnam ranges from overcrowded urban units to shacks constructed from scraps or natural materials that need frequent replacing.

Tien Giang province is located north of the Mekong Delta, adjacent to the Tien River. It is bordered on the north by Long An; on the south by Vinh Long and Ben Tre; on the east by Ho Chi Minh; and on the west by Dong Thap. Tien Giang’s population is estimated at more than 1.6 million. My Tho is the capital city and municipality of Tien Giang.

About Habitat for Humanity Vietnam
Habitat’s work in Vietnam is undertaken through the Habitat for Humanity Vietnam national office that was established in October 2002. Currently, Habitat has projects in the southern provinces of Kien Giang, Tien Giang, Dong Nai as well as Ho Chi Minh City.

Recently Habitat started a pilot project to reduce poverty levels in southern province, Tien Giang, where more than 1,000 families are being provided with improved sanitation and housing. This initiative, with the help of the provincial authorities, extended existing microfinance networks so families could save and access credit for home improvements.

To learn more about HFH Vietnam, visit

Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may work on existing home renovations and complete home construction. Volunteers may help with some, but not necessarily all, of these activities: transporting materials; filling foundations with dirt stone and sand; compacting floor; mixing mortar; laying bricks; cleaning and painting windows and doors.

Standard itinerary
(16-day itinerary)

Day 1 August 23 ( Friday): Depart for Vietnam.
Day 2 August 24 (Saturday): Travel day.
Day 3 August 25 (Sunday): Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City; free time; dinner; overnight in hotel.
Day 4 August 26 (Monday): Travel to My Tho in Tien Giang; orientation with local staff member; visit project sites and families; welcome dinner.
Days 5-8 August 27 - 30 (Workdays, Tuesday-Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner and time for team activities.
Days 9-10 August 31 – September 1 (Saturday-Sunday): Free days: activities in local community and sightseeing.
Days 11-14 September 2 – 5 (Monday- Thursday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner at house; time for team activities. Farewell lunch with families.
Day 15 September 6 (Friday): Travel to Ho Chi Minh City; free time, overnight stay.
Day 16 September 7 (Saturday): Departure day.

Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week, including cultural experiences with affiliate staff, such as market tours, museum visits, church, historical sites, etc.

Teams typically stay in a local hotel with A/C; participants sharing double-occupancy rooms with private bath.

Breakfast is at the hotel. Lunch is on-site, prepared by local restaurants that are located near the work site. Dinners are in local restaurants. Snack and water is included, as well as the cost of welcome and farewell dinners.

Program cost
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)

Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!

Team leaders: Ken and Karen Bensen
In 2012, Ken and Karen Bensen, a father and daughter, led a Vietnam veterans Global Village team of 31 members to Tien Giang, Vietnam. For many of the veterans this was a healing trip. The team built three houses. In August 2013, Ken and Karen are going to lead a second Global Village trip to Vietnam.

Ken Bensen is president/CEI Emeritus of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan. Currently, he is president of Habitat of Humanity International State Support Organization Alliance and Global Village trained leader. He has worked with Habitat for Humanity since 1985. During this time he directed the 1986 and 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Projects, worked on more than 20 Global Village trips including 10 Jimmy Carter Work Projects, organized 81 affiliates in Michigan, supervised the building of more than 4,000 houses in Michigan and has helped raise money to provide housing for 21,000 individuals around the world. You can reach Ken Bensen by phone at 517-819-7511 or by email at

Karen Bensen is a compliance specialist for Great Lakes Capital Fund. Great Lakes Capital Fund is a nonprofit housing company. She is responsible for up to 125 properties making sure that all residents comply with income rules and regulations and that the owner and management companies are properly maintaining the buildings. She has volunteered on and off for Habitat since 1985. She has worked on four Jimmy Carter Work Projects and two Global Village trips. You can reach Karen Bensen by phone at 517-230-4134 or by email at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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