HFH Fiji's first special build will see nearly 120 international volunteers working to build affordable rental housing for low-income families
(Above) Some of the houses built during an earlier phase in the Koroipita Model Community. (Below) Bake sales were among the KPU Builds team's fundraising ideas.
SUVA (April 15, 2013) — A total of nearly 120 international volunteers will be involved in Habitat for Humanity’s first special build in Fiji from April 21 to May 11.
The word "bula" in Bula Build Fiji 2013 may mean anything from "hello" to "welcome". But it will be the word "life" which will have a special meaning for the volunteers from Canada, the USA, New Zealand, and Australia. They will be working to build affordable rental housing for low-income Fijian families.
The build site is located just outside the city of Lautoka on the northwestern coast of the island of Viti Levu. The site is home to the Koroipita Model Community, a Rotahomes’ social housing project which was started originally by Rotary International, a non-profit service club.
Koroipita was conceived with the aim of creating a holistic and sustainable community. In the first phase of its development, known as K1, 81 homes were built, together with a town hall, kindergarten, shops, roads and water and sanitation facilities.
Rotahomes leads the project and works in partnership with others. In 2011, Habitat for Humanity Fiji obtained funding from NZAID, the international development agency of the New Zealand government, to complement funding from Rotary International to expand Koroipita.
This funding means 153 new homes can be built in the second phase of the community, known as K2, and these are expected to be finished in 2015. Volunteers for Bula Build Fiji 2013 will work on building these houses.
A further third phase, K3, is already planned to build a further 70 houses.
All Koroipita residents pay rent of one Fijian dollar (about US$0.56) per day for access to water, garbage removal, security patrol, maintenance of roads and free kindergarten education.
Since January, a 17-member team from Canada’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been raising money for their first build with Habitat. Bake sales were popular, as were test-drives through a tie-up with a local dealer. Check out their creative ideas at www.kpubuilds.com .
When Iman Ghahremani decided to lead a team to Fiji, he was only expecting to recruit seven members. Within a week of the news being broadcast on the university, there were 100 applications. In the end, 17 students and six faculty members and administrators will make the trip.
The KPU Builds team has raised US$43,000 to date, according to Ghahremani. "One of the criteria for selection to the KPU Builds team was financial need. Several of our team members would never have the opportunity to undertake such an experiential learning project if they were to pay the full amount," said Ghahremani. A portion of the money raised will also go toward Habitat for Humanity Canada to support their Global Village volunteer builds.
Habitat for Humanity started working in Fiji in 1991. Since then, Habitat has helped over 1,000 families to build homes and hope through partnerships with governments, corporations, non-profit organizations and international volunteers. Habitat's work goes beyond construction of homes. HFH Fiji works on a range of projects throughout the country including disaster prevention and recovery, water and sanitation, and disabled access housing projects.