World Leaders Build > Europe / Commonwealth of Independent States

Students build house and appreciation of diversity at Summer Youth Build

From staff reports

CLUJ-NAPOCA, Romania -- Habitat for Humanity's eighth annual Summer Youth Build was held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, August 4-19. A total of 15 students aged 16-19 were chosen to attend the event, representing eight European countries in which Habitat has a presence and the United States.

Funded by grants from the Pritzker-Cousins and Kerrigan Foundations, the Summer Youth Build is one means of building sustainability for Habitat's work around the world. Requirements for participation are formulated with the ultimate goal of building Habitat volunteers and leaders.

"They are our future," said Delia Popa, executive director of the Cluj-Napoca Habitat affiliate. "They are the most precious resource that we have, and it should be cultivated."

Youth Build participants had two objectives: to build a house and to increase their appreciation and experiences of diversity.

"There are a wide range of backgrounds represented," said Rebekah Graydon, a Habitat for Humanity International staff member at the site. "Some are typical suburban Americans; one is the child of Habitat homeowners in G�d, Hungary. Almost all speak English with some degree of skill and most are quite fluent. Of course, everyone is developing an extensive construction vocabulary.

"During the evening, they have discussions on culture and where they're from, and they play leadership and diversity-developing games," Graydon added.

The house the students built during their two weeks in Cluj is the home of Mihai and Viorica Pop and their 11 children. Mihai, Viorica and other homeowners have worked together throughout the first week of the build. Mihai says his new neighbors are wonderful: "We are like brothers already."

For more information, please see the HFH Romania Web Site.

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