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Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter travel to Sichuan, China today to participate with Habitat for Humanity China at building event

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, join local and international celebrities including Daniel Wu, Lisa S, Andrew Lin and Ken Wong as part of the 26th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project

SICHUAN, CHINA (Nov.19, 2009) – Former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, today arrived in Qionglai City, Sichuan, to take part in the 26th annual Habitat for Humanity Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

The Carters are leading the annual Habitat for Humanity build in five Asian countries. The build began on Nov. 15 and will continue through Nov. 20. Nearly 3,000 volunteers from around the world are participating in the project to build and repair 166 homes in Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia and Laos as part of The Mekong Build—all countries along the Mekong River. In the Mekong River basin, nearly one-fifth of the population lives in poverty—many live on less than the equivalent of US$1 per day.

“We are pleased to have the Carters join Habitat for Humanity China today. We look forward to helping to create better futures for families within this community,” said Rick Hathaway, area vice president for Habitat for Humanity. “We’re especially excited to announce today the launch of a five-year campaign that will provide 10,000 families in China with decent housing.”

One of the Carter Work Project locations is an urban site in Qionglai city, China, which is approximately 80 kilometers from Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan. The Carters are joined today by Habitat for Humanity chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford, as well as more than 200 Habitat volunteers—including local and international celebrities Daniel Wu, Lisa Selesner, Andrew Lin and Ken Wong—to work alongside families in constructing 16 Habitat for Humanity units in the first of a series of multistory blocks that will eventually house hundreds of families. The families have been relocated from other areas but lack the resources to own their own homes.

The Carters were joined by Sichuan government representatives for a luncheon and met with volunteers and families as they participated in the build.

“With the help of President and Mrs. Carter and the thousands of devoted Habitat volunteers, the Carter Work Project will result not only in better housing for families who urgently need it in the Mekong region, but in much-needed attention to the housing plight of so many families in this part of the world,” said Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford. “Decent shelter helps transform lives and entire communities, and we’re grateful for President and Mrs. Carter’s servant leadership.”

Participating in his second build project with Habitat, actor and director Daniel Wu shared his experience: “I am proud to be involved with Habitat’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project and am committed to helping families within the Sichuan region that are in need of safe and affordable housing. More importantly, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to this community.”

This phase of the Qionglai City Project involves Habitat working with local government authorities to build homes in partnership with some of the poorest families in Sichuan. These families lost their land on the rural outskirts of the expanding city.

Habitat’s Carter Work Project is an annual, internationally-recognized week of building that brings attention to the need for simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with low-income families. President and Mrs. Carter have given one week of their time each year since 1984 to help build Habitat homes and raise awareness about the need for simple, decent housing. The Carter Work Project has been held in India, Korea, The Philippines, Mexico, South Africa, Hungary and throughout the United States.

The World Bank estimates that more than 200 million people in China live on the equivalent of less than US$1.25 a day (World Bank in 2005 prices).

For more information regarding 2009 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, please visit www.habitatchina.org.

About Habitat for Humanity China
Habitat for Humanity China was established in 2000 and merged its operations in Hong Kong and China into a single entity in 2006. The move aimed to leverage the resources and business acumen of Asia’s premier international city to promote Habitat’s mission of providing decent housing for those in need in the world’s largest developing economy. Habitat for Humanity China currently works in Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces as well as in Hong Kong.

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. We work with people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build homes together in partnership with families in need. Using volunteer labor and financial contributions from caring people, we build with partners and communities to provide simple, decent, and affordable housing for low-income families. Since 1976, Habitat has built and renovated 350,000 homes in dozens of countries and territories, some 86,000 of them in the Asia Pacific region. Today, an estimated 1,500,000 people live in homes they have built with Habitat. For more information, visit www.habitatchina.org.