World Leaders Build
> Asia / Pacific
Korean President Kim Dae-jung together with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, as many as 9,000 volunteers from around the world helped 120 families build simple, decent houses. Seventy-two of the houses were built at the main site, Asan, with rest constructed in the following five other communities: Gunsan, Jinju, Paju, Gyeongsan, and Taebaek. MORE

  Gishik Lee and his daughter Eunjii stand in the makeshift kitchen are of their one-room home in Asan City, South Korea. The family will receive a Habitat house in the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2001. (2001)

BAYSWATER, Australia -- Recently appointed Governor-General of Australia, Dr. Peter Hollingworth, took up another new role on August 5. Dr. Hollingworth donned overalls and a hard hat to help build houses at Bayswater in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs.

Dr. Hollingworth contributed in a unique week during which national leaders around the world are helping the world's largest not-for-profit home builder, Habitat for Humanity, construct homes for low-income families. Habitat was established 25 years ago and has been active in Australia since 1988.

The founders of Habitat for Humanity, Millard and Linda Fuller, visited Australia and worked at the Bayswater site. Mr. Fuller said that Habitat was thrilled that Governor-General Dr. Hollingworth had agreed to participate in the World Leaders Build campaign.

100,000 people are homeless in Australia.
(l-r) Australian Governor-General Dr. Peter Hollingworth; his wife, Ann; and Habitat for Humanity Australia Chairman Peter Preece at the Australian World Leaders Build.

"Many people think that in affluent countries like the USA and Australia there is no real poverty," Mr. Fuller said. "But the reality is that more than 100,000 people are homeless in Australia. Thousands more are in sub-standard accommodation and more than two million live below the poverty line.

"We at Habitat aim to get people out of the poverty trap by enabling them to buy their own homes. We also know from experience that acquiring a home, which they themselves have helped to build, gives families a great morale boost and increased self confidence. Owning their own home also gives essential stability to families who have often been forced to move from rental property to rental property for years."

Habitat For Humanity Australia CEO Michael Pailthorpe said that World Leaders Build provides a new impetus for Habitat for Humanity, which is steadily increasing the rate of home building. "The beauty of the program is that every dollar we receive is permanently recycled," he said. "We use the money to build a home, sell it at no profit and no interest to a low income family and use their repayments to fund a home for someone else in need - the cycle never ends.

Mr. Pailthorpe said that Habitat would not be successful without the support of thousands of volunteers and corporate supporters. "We are particularly grateful to Honeywell Ltd. -- our major Australian sponsor -- for their substantial support for our work," he said.

Mr. Pailthorpe said that Habitat had completed more than 30 homes in Australia in three states in city, regional and country areas but expected to build many more homes in the near future. "Worldwide we hope to build a further 100,000 homes in the next five years," he said.

Victorian Project Manager for Habitat, Ingrid Gaiotto, said that a number of other well known people, including Victorian Housing Minister Bronwyn Pike and entertainer Normie Rowe, were expected to give their time to building at Bayswater along with hundreds of other volunteers.

"We hope to have three homes at this site completed in a matter of weeks and another two over the following months," she said. "What we can achieve after that depends on the level of support we receive from the community in terms of donations of cash, materials and labour. We have a long waiting list of potential home owners. They are willing to help themselves if we are willing to help them. We are deeply encouraged by Dr. Peter Hollingworth's participation, showing that anyone at any level can help make a difference in meeting that need"

Sri Lanka

On Monday Aug. 6, Chief Minister of the Northwest Provincial Council S.B. Nawinna dedicated Habitat for Humanity homes in Galle, the capital city of Sri Lanka's Southern Province. The Honorable Nimal Chandrasiry, mayor of the city of Kurunagala, will inaugurate the building of five houses on Saturday, Aug. 11.

New Zealand

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark dedicated a house in Far North of New Zealand on Saturday, Aug. 11. The Honorable Mark Gosche, New Zealand's Minister of Housing, led the opening ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 5.

The house dedicated by the Prime Minister belongs to a family of six who lost three children in an earlier house fire. The house, which had no electricity, caught fire when a candle being used for light overturned. New Zealand's fire service installed sprinklers in the homes being built by Habitat for Humanity during the World Leaders Build.

National rugby stars have joined the many volunteers participating in the week-long build.



Speaker of the House Donald Kalpokas represented President Father John Bani at Vanuatu's World Leaders Build. Kalpokas broke ground for the home of Steve and Winnie Naviti. The house fulfilled the couple's 14-year-old dreaming of owning their own home. An average of 15 volunteers built each day, including church and government leaders and Habitat For Humanity International board member Vera Randel. Habitat for Humanity Vanuatu was formed earlier this year, making it the newest national organization to hold a World Leaders Build event.


President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines visited the main site of the Philippines World Leaders Build at Pinugay, Rizal, on Monday, Aug. 6. The president unveiled a wall honoring the donors to the build and stayed for a ceremonial brick laying and tour of the site. Other special guests on hand for the event were Rebbeca Yneres, governor of Rizal province and Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Council Michael De Sanor. A host of government and religious leaders built on other sites.

Nearly 300 houses at 25 sites were built in the Philippines in conjunction with the World Leaders Build. On Wednesday. President Arroyo's daughter Luli Macapagal Arroyo led a youth build in Escalante, Negros Occidental, in the Central Philippines. On Thursday, a multi-faith build was organized in Cajayan le Oro in Mindanao, a community which has been split by religious conflict in recent years. —Shelter forum held at Philippines WLB site in Escalante City

Video: WLB

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