Scenes from Southeast Asia -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Scenes from Southeast Asia
A Habitat World scrapbook of the 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project
Homeowner children play on a swing in front of the new community center in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo by Mikel Flamm
Here’s a look at what has taken place in the Mekong Build countries since volunteers returned home last November.
Habitat Thailand has given back to the community a restored school building and school grounds that were used as a construction office and volunteer food tent while the Chiang Mai build was under way. Habitat Thailand has worked to get donations for a small library in the community center and for playground equipment in the garden area.
As families have moved into their new Habitat homes, they bring with them memories from the build week. As new homeowner Aphiwat Gorkue told volunteers as the Carter project came to a close: “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to change my life for the better. I have realized that wherever you are, we share the same love. And this is the greatest thing in the world.”
On the morning of Nov. 28, the 21 partner families in Cambodia left Phnom Penh’s municipal dumpsite for their new homes in the city of Oudong. In addition to individual mortgages, community members have signed a partnership agreement that details the care of common areas, such as the water tank and the community center. A plan is in place to help families improve their livelihoods, with some homeowners already producing and selling handicraft s and opening small shops.
“This is the very first time in my whole life I will have my own house on my own land,” said Eagk Srey Hak. “I never imagined this dream would happen.”
Habitat Vietnam hosted a ceremony in mid-December to turn house keys over to all 30 partner families, who moved into their own homes throughout January.
Once the work of the Carter project was accomplished, Habitat Vietnam began working with the community on improving water, sanitation and the environment, in addition to any training necessary. Job training is another aspect of community development that Habitat Vietnam performs in Dong Xa village, including the block-making enterprise that began with the blocks created for the Carter build. Here, the work of building hope, lives and dreams continues.
The friendly local masons celebrated by Carter Work Project volunteers have carried on with the work, adding to the 3-meter walls built during the week of the event. These walls marked the beginning of 16 six-story residential buildings being built under the Qionglai city government’s low-cost rental housing project. By the end of 2010, 402 families in need will have solid and affordable shelter.
Carter project volunteers in Laos focused on house repairs and toilet installation for 11 families living in existing homes. All partner families are enjoying the improvement of their homes and health.
That transformation is one that Habitat Laos hopes to replicate many times. Across the country, more than half the population lacks access to clean water, while nearly one-third of the people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. Habitat’s presence in Laos is only three years old, but the Carter project has already demonstrated Habitat’s willingness to help where help is most sorely needed.