September 6, 2004
BANGKOK, 6th September 2004: An Indian lawyer, a husband-wife-team from Singapore,
a five-start hotelier and a highly motivated single father were among eight dedicated Habitat volunteers from around the Asia-Pacific region honored for the big difference each has made to the lives of families in need in their communities.
Stronger foundations, greater impact: HFH Asia-Pacific leadership conference participants at the IBOD awards evening
The special eight were nominees for the 2004 Nehemiah for Distinguished Voluntary Service awards, a biannual award made by the Asia-Pacific representative from the international board of directors of Habitat for Humanity International.
The Nehemiah awards were announced at the 2004 Asia-Pacific Leadership Conference held at the Thai seaside resort of Bang Saen in early September.
The Nehemiah awards recognize individuals whose exceptional service to a local grass-roots Habitat volunteer group – an affiliate – has been inspirational and helped that affiliate reach new heights of achievement.
Each Nehemiah award plaque comes with a cheque worth US$10,000 that winners may donate to the affiliate of their choice.
The judges made six awards. They were:
Indian lawyer Bibhudutta Das for spearheading the response of HFH Cuttack, in the
eastern state of Orissa, to a cyclone disaster with an initiative that also encouraged training for Habitat homeowners to get decent jobs plus for helping establishing the first school campus chapter in India.
Singaporean husband-and-wife team Teo Eng Tiong and Lim Jen Nee used their expertise as professional video makers to provide HFH Singapore with a powerful advocacy tool. The couple created and donated a video of their experiences on a Global Village trip to build in Mongolia. This is now used as a prime tool for mobilizing volunteers
in Singapore and elsewhere.
Left : Habitat founder and president Millard Fuller with video maker Lim Jen Nee
The dynamic general manager of the JW Marriott Jakarta hotel, John Jaskula chaired a successful “100 Houses” campaign in Indonesia and is leading a follow-up campaign to raise funds for 1,000 new homes. As well as opening the doors and resources of his hotel to Habitat, he has opened doors to new corporate supporters, many of whose leaders and staff are Moslems.
Michael Bourke from HFH Manukau, New Zealand, proved to be a volunteer “par excellence” over a decade. A Habitat homeowner and single father of three special-needs teenagers, Michael still found time to become a skilled and qualified builder whose skills are much in demand on habitat work sites.
Lawyer Samuel Jonathan Hiponia leads HFH Butuan, on Mindanao island in the southern Philippines. His drive and energy helped create strong and innovative partnerships with city officials and others to build hundreds of homes, and an efficient, well-run affiliate.
New Zealand grandmother Vera Farrant was honored for her long contribution for HFH Waikato, New Zealand. She has personally helped dozens of families and continues to be a highly energetic volunteer leader. In October, she is taking a team of volunteer builders to the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Mexico.
An honorable mention certificate was awarded to another New Zealander, David Reyburn of HFH Northland. The retired professional surveyor and dedicated Christian has been a local politician, a Church elder and a founder and leader of a Habitat affiliate.
The Asia-Pacific leadership conference attracted more than 100 board and staff representatives from national offices and affiliates, and Habitat for Humanity International
staff members for a week-long conference that examined ways for Habitat to strengthen its foundations and have a greater impact.