Chiang Mai, Thailand (Nov. 17, 2009) – Action film star Jet Li’s One Foundation and Habitat for Humanity have signed an agreement to work together in China’s earthquake-torn Sichuan province in 2010 and in China’s Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces in 2011.
Action film star Jet Li, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford and Richard Hathaway, vice president for Habitat for Humanity International’s Asia/Pacific region, celebrate after signing an agreement for Li’s One Foundation to work with Habitat for Humanity in China.
The “One-Habitat” effort will join Li with Habitat for Humanity to build and repair houses and work to meet other community needs in partnership with low-income earners in the provinces.
“I am looking forward to working with Habitat for Humanity volunteers to help build and repair houses in China,” said Li. “Together we will help people still recovering from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and assist in building stronger communities.”
Li signed the agreement with Habitat for Humanity in Chiang Mai during Habitat’s annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Habitat’s Carter Work Project is an intensive week-long build that takes place in a different location around the world each year. Former United States President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are leading this year’s build in Thailand, Vietnam, China, Laos and Cambodia on November 15–20.
“We are grateful to Jet Li and the One Foundation for working with Habitat for Humanity to improve the lives of low-income earners,” said Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International. “Jet will help not only build and repair houses, but also raise awareness about the need for decent housing.”
Li was a five-time national martial arts champion in China before he retired from the sport at age 17. He started his movie career in 1982 in a series of Chinese martial arts films before his Hollywood break in Mel Gibson’s “Lethal Weapon 4” in 1998. Li is an ambassador for International Red Cross and founded the One Foundation, a Chinese-based organization with a goal to develop China’s philanthropic industry. He also is a World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador.
This week, Li is one of nearly 3,000 volunteers from around the world who are building and repairing 166 homes in Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia and Laos—all countries along the Mekong River.
In Thailand, volunteers are building a community of 82 houses with families in Chiang Mai province. The number 82 was chosen to honor the 82nd birthday of the Thai monarch, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, on December 5, 2009.
Habitat volunteers in Cambodia will build 21 houses in Damnak Thom village with families who will be relocating from a dumpsite near Phnom Penh. Thirty-two houses will be built by Habitat homeowners and volunteers in Vietnam’s Dong Xa village near Hanoi.
In China, Habitat is working with the local government in Qionglai city—in the southwestern province of Sichuan—on a project to build a series of multi-story, urban housing units that will eventually house hundreds of families. Habitat volunteers will help construct 20 Habitat for Humanity units during the Carter project.
Additionally, in Laos, Habitat volunteers and families will refurbish 11 homes in Ban Chawang village, 30 minutes outside the capital city of Vientiane.
Habitat’s Carter Work Project is an annual, internationally-recognized week of building that brings attention to the need for simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with low-income families. President and Mrs. Carter have faithfully given one week of their time each year since 1984 to help build Habitat homes and raise awareness about the need for simple, decent housing. The Carter Work Project has been held in India, Korea, The Philippines, Mexico, South Africa, Hungary and throughout the United States.
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 .