80 volunteers from New Zealand, China and Canada work on four houses and two community centers in Battambang province
Joy is in the air on home dedication day (top); friendly Habitat workers and partner families motivated volunteers to work harder.
PHNOM PENH (April 15, 2013) — Habitat for Humanity Cambodia recently celebrated the completion of its first special build in the northern province of Battambang. Eighty volunteers, from New Zealand, China and Canada worked from April 1 to 5 during the North Build. Together with Habitat home partners, they built four houses and two community centers.
For Kiwi volunteer Chris Bolderston, being able to present a new house to a Habitat family was meaningful. "I was touched by the house dedication ceremony since after a week's build, we were able to cut the red ribbon for their new house which was a very good gesture."
Eddie Gray, also from New Zealand, said the friendly skilled workers and a very welcoming home partner were the volunteers' motivation for working harder. "It was also an amazing moment as you got to meet lots of people you never knew before and build a bonding relationship with them during the week."
The families are helped under a World Bank-funded project in Battambang. HFH Cambodia is working with the local government and other partners to enable families who are informal settlers obtain secure land tenure and decent housing.
Battambang is also the location of a pilot HFH Cambodia partnership for institutional loans. Among 130 families who have received land certificates so far from the local government, an initial 35 families will receive help to build or improve their homes.
HFH Cambodia is providing US$50,000 to local organization CBIRD which will dispense and manage housing microfinance loans to the families. HFH Cambodia will also lend support in areas such as housing design and financial education.
The Habitat-CBIRD partnership aims to help a total of 220 families.
Since 2004, Habitat for Humanity Cambodia has built over 2,000 houses and served over 9,000 families in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kandal, Takeo, Prey Veng and Battambang. HFH Cambodia plans to serve 125,000 families by 2018 with emphasis on integrated community development along with building decent homes. Habitat's programs in Cambodia address water-sanitation needs, secure tenure, shelter needs of vulnerable groups such as oprhans and those living with HIV/AIDS. HFH Cambodia also responds to disasters as well as partner with local organizations to provide housing microfinance services.