Recording Artists Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks work side by side at house #8 during the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Pascagoula, Mississippi, 2008.
SUKSAMRAN, Thailand (Nov. 12, 2009) – Two newly-built homes funded by Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation were dedicated today in a special ceremony as part of Habitat for Humanity’s ongoing reconstruction program following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that hit southern Thailand.
Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation donated more than US$1 million to help Habitat build 215 homes and a local school and community center in the neighborhood. Additionally, the Foundation provided a clinic in the Muang District of Ranong, where Habitat plans to build more houses. Habitat’s work is being implemented in coordination with several departments of the Ranong provincial government as well as Prince of Songkla University and Ranong Technical College.
The Teammates for Kids Foundation has donated more than US$1 million to fund Habitat’s program in the south.
Two families received keys to their new, safe, decent and affordable homes. Both families used to rely on the sea for their livelihoods, but after the tsunami, they were afraid to return to the water. Former fisherman Ar-leb Kasirak, age 22, his 26-year-old wife Haseeken Arwaehama and seven family members now rely on money they earn in rubber plantations and from doing odd jobs. Twenty-year-old Premrudee Kasirak used to sell shrimp paste. Now she and her husband, Peerawat Jampakay, 26, and eight family members also rely on income from tapping rubber trees and casual labor.
In a message written for the dedication ceremony, Brooks said, “Teammates for Kids Foundation is pleased and proud to join Habitat for Humanity to help these families. The work being done to rebuild this community is so important, and we are honored to play a part in the ongoing recovery efforts.”
Nearly five years after the tsunami, Habitat for Humanity continues to build, rehabilitate and repair homes with affected families in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
In Thailand, Habitat for Humanity has assisted some 2,000 families in its post-tsunami reconstruction program.
In all four tsunami-affected countries, Habitat works with local people, partner organizations and local government authorities to design and rebuild homes and communities. In keeping with local building practices as well as government stipulations, Habitat uses disaster-resistant construction technologies and methodologies that help mitigate vulnerabilities to future disasters like tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and cyclones.
Habitat for Humanity Resource Centers in the four countries provide additional value by producing cost-effective building materials for house construction and providing training and employment opportunities for affected families.
Habitat for Humanity has also mobilized local and international volunteers in the reconstruction of affected communities in the four countries. International volunteer teams from Asia, Europe and North America have offered their assistance.
From its experiences after the tsunami, Habitat for Humanity has taken increasingly active roles in rebuilding after natural disasters. Most recently, in October 2009, Habitat responded to Typhoon Ketsana—which hit the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia—earthquakes in Indonesia, and tsunami waves that struck several South Pacific island nations.
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 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org  and www.habitat.org/ap .