ATLANTA (May 15, 2008) – Habitat for Humanity International’s 26th annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project will be held in the Mekong River region in November 2009. The Carters will join thousands of volunteers in building houses and bringing attention to the need for decent and affordable housing to countries along the Mekong River. The event will also launch a five-year Habitat for Humanity campaign to assist families across the region.
The Mekong region — defined to include Vietnam, the Yunnan Province in China, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia — has seen significant economic growth in the past 20 years. Yet it is still home to some of the poorest families in Asia. Nearly one-third of the population (80 million out of 250 million) live in poverty, many living on less than a dollar per day.
“Rosalynn and I are pleased to travel to the Mekong region to join volunteers from around the world in 2009,” said President Carter. “Together during the week, we will help hundreds of families into decent housing and bring attention to an area where many people live in deplorable poverty.”
The week-long building project will secure homes in partnership with an estimated 300 families. It also will begin a five-year Habitat for Humanity initiative to assist 50,000 families across the five countries by engaging corporations, individuals and partner organizations in the fight to end poverty housing.
“The need for affordable housing is immense in the Mekong region,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “We look forward to bringing worldwide attention to this issue through the Carter Work Project and to working alongside these 300 families and assisting thousands more throughout the five-year campaign to improve lives through homeownership.”
Plans for the event include builds in northern Thailand, where Habitat for Humanity Thailand runs a successful program working with tribal families; in rural communities in Yunnan, southwestern China; in southern Laos; in slum areas of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh; and in communities along the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam.
“Habitat for Humanity has a strong and growing presence in all the Mekong countries through a wide range of housing solutions,” said Richard Hathaway, vice president for Habitat for Humanity International’s Asia/Pacific region. “This project will provide a significant boost to those programs to serve even more families in need of decent shelter.”
The 2009 Carter Work Project will mark the fourth time the former U.S. president and his wife have built with Habitat for Humanity in Asia. Previous Carter Work Projects were held in India in 2006, in South Korea in 2001 and in the Philippines in 1999.
This year, the event was held in the U.S. Gulf Coast to help with the ongoing recovery efforts after 2005’s hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Habitat’s annual project also was renamed the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project to recognize the former first lady’s years of dedicated service.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 250,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .