DHAKA, 6th May 2009: Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh held its first-ever Women Build recently in South Rajashon village, about an hour northwest of the capital, Dhaka. HFH Bangladesh national director Kelly Koch welcomed the 45 foreign and local volunteers and spoke of how Habitat sought to empower women through home ownership, education and training.
The volunteers, aged from more than 17 to 55, comprised students and teachers from international schools, staff from the diplomatic missions and aid organizations and entrepreneurs. They worked on four houses which were at various stages of construction. They spent the day digging, pounding and levelling the floor, carrying sand and water and sifting sand, among others.
Australian volunteer Stephanie Ryan, who lived in Dhaka, liked the hands-on involvement and the opportunity to work with families and the community. “Volunteering with Habitat means so much more than just giving money to an organization.”
While a villager was surprised that the volunteers would choose to spend their day building in the heat, Habitat home partner Amina Begum had a different reaction. Begum: “Seeing so many foreign women in my village, helping my family and me to build our house, inspires me to also help others.”
With the success of the inaugural event, HFH Bangladesh hopes to organize another Women Build later in the year.
Prior to the Women Build in Bangladesh, HFH Singapore also held its first such event on the Indonesian island of Batam.