CHIANG MAI, Thailand (Feb. 19, 2009) – Habitat for Humanity kicked off its 26th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project  this week with a ground-breaking ceremony at Moo Baan Nong Kan Kru in Chiang Mai, the northern capital of Thailand. Attending the auspicious event with members of the local community were Eric John, U.S. ambassador to Thailand; Wiboon Sanguanpong, governor of Chiang Mai; Richard Hathaway, vice president of the Asia Pacific office for Habitat for Humanity International; and Dr. Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, chair of Habitat for Humanity Thailand.
Former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will join the Chiang Mai community, celebrities and approximately 3,000 volunteers from Thailand and around the world to build 82 homes on November 15–20, 2009. The build also will commemorate His Majesty the King’s 82nd birthday, which falls on December 5. The houses will be simple, decent homes built in partnership with 82 low-income families in north of Thailand.
“As with every other Carter Work Project, the event in November will bring more attention to the problem of poverty housing in this community, in this country and in this region. It will influence more individuals and donors who want to take action, and it will serve as a catalyst for more homes to be built and more lives changed,” said Hathaway.
Chiang Mai will serve as the main host for the five-day project and will be the anchor to a five-country event with additional builds taking place in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Yunnan Province of China. The Mekong Build is a three-year campaign that will enable thousands of low-income families in the Mekong region to have decent shelter.
“As we turn the soil today, we mark the beginning of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project 2009,” said Dr. Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, chair of Habitat for Humanity Thailand. “I encourage you to tell others about Habitat for Humanity, about this event and about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a current of change that will have lasting implications for Chiang Mai, for Thailand and for the Mekong region.”
Habitat for Humanity followed up the groundbreaking event with a press conference in Bangkok featuring Habitat for Humanity Thailand’s celebrity ambassador Rattapoom “Film” Tokongsub, who encouraged youth to get involved and support the project in November.
Habitat’s annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, which takes place in a different location every year, has provided homes for people in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Hungary, South Africa, South Korea, the Philippines and India. This is the first time that the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project will occur in Thailand.
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 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .