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Habitat for Humanity Singapore

Contact information

HFH Singapore
Century Technology Building 56 Lorong 23 Geylang 0
Singapore 388381
Singapore
Fax: +65 68445383
Phone: 67447326

Country Profile

Registered in March 2002, Habitat for Humanity Singapore is involved in fundraising, advocacy and organizing volunteers for Habitat builds in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world. It also organizes local home improvement and safety projects. HFH Singapore has formed close links with HFH Indonesia’s Batam affiliate. Batam island is only a short ferry ride from Singapore, making it an ideal location for short volunteer builds.

Housing needs in Singapore

In Singapore, the elimination of poverty has, in part, been driven by official concern to create decent housing. Before the Singapore government established the Housing & Development Board (HDB) as the country’s public housing authority in 1960, only nine percent of the population enjoyed low-cost public housing. Today, more than 80 percent of Singapore’s population lives in very high quality HDB flats and more than 90 percent of these residents also own their flats.

How Habitat for Humanity works

HFH Singapore has focused attention on the issue of substandard housing through high profile events designed to reach wide audiences. An annual charity walk, “Bare Your Sole”, gives participants the chance to experience one of the commonest features faced by impoverished families — going without shoes. Another program, known as “Under No Roof ”, also provides an experience of poverty.

Since 2003, HFH Singapore has used Under No Roof to raise awareness among young people about substandard housing and homelessness. The event involves participants constructing and spending the night in make-shift shelters. The annual event has been successfully adopted by Habitat campus chapters in the Philippines and South Korea as well as by international schools in Hong Kong.

In 2006, HFH Singapore started “Operation Homeworks”, partly as a way to provide local volunteers with a way of making a hands-on Habitat contribution without going overseas. The program is designed to benefit households with elderly and disabled people. It involves mobilizing volunteers to clean up homes, make minor repairs and ensure facilities meet safety standards. To date, more than 3,200 volunteers have helped over 540 households. Operation Homeworks has proved to be highly popular, as volunteers are able to witness the physical transformation of living conditions.

Supporting Habitat’s work overseas

HFH Singapore has responded to disasters round the region. Singapore was the first Habitat national organization to send disaster-response teams to Sri Lanka and Indonesia after the December 2004 tsunami. Subsequently, HFH Singapore worked with Singapore Red Cross to rebuild homes in Aceh, Indonesia. The partnership also supported Habitat’s rebuilding efforts after the September 2009 earthquake in West Sumatra, Indonesia, and the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China.

Partners

Habitat has worked with Barclays Bank, the title sponsor of the 2011 Bare Your Sole, and local law firm Samuel Seow Law Corporation. Other support came from Caterpillar, Credit Suisse, Cathay Pacific, Dow Chemical, General Electric, International SOS, OCBC Bank and Star Furniture.

Volunteers

HFH Singapore sends teams of volunteers on Habitat’s Global Village trips to build homes in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world. Between 2002 and 2011, HFH Singapore mobilized more than 8,500 volunteers. Popular destinations include Indonesia, especially Batam island, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines.

HABITAT HIGHLIGHTS

  • December 2011: With support from HFH Singapore, 160 basic or “core” houses and 65 house rehabilitations were completed in earthquake-affected Padang Pariaman district, West Sumatra, Indonesia. With US$650,000 funding from the Singapore Red Cross Society, the project began in October 2010.
  • November 2011: With support and funding from HFH Singapore, HFH Indonesia unveiled an interlocking brick factory on Batam island. Bricks produced are being used to build a house for a family selected by HFH Indonesia.
  • November 2011: More than 60 donors, volunteers and supporters of HFH Singapore attended its annual thanksgiving dinner held at a Singapore restaurant. Guests learned of new programs including the pilot S.T.O.P. (Strike Off Poverty) project. The initiative encourages people to start a fundraising project with HFH Singapore’s assistance.
  • June 2011: HFH Singapore’s third annual barefoot 5km. charity walk, Bare Your Sole, attracted more than 4,000 people. Barclays Bank was title sponsor for the event which raised over S$100,000 (US$80,500) for Habitat’s work.
  • May 2009: Singapore Red Cross donated US$5 million through HFH Singapore for HFH China’s reconstruction in Sichuan province following the May 2008 earthquake.
  • March 2009: A 10-strong volunteer team took part in HFH Singapore’s first-ever Women Build held on Batam.
  • June 2007: HFH Singapore celebrated the 1,700th family housed in tsunami-affected Meulaboh on the west coast of Indonesia. In addition to a US$9 million grant from the Singapore Red Cross, HFH Singapore raised some US$500,000 for reconstruction after the Indian Ocean tsunami.

COUNTRY FACTS

Population: 4,740,737 (July 2011 est.)

Capital: Singapore

Area: 697 sq km

Ethnic groups: Chinese 76.8%, Malay 13.9%, Indian 7.9%, other 1.4% (2000 census)

Languages: Mandarin (official) 35%, English (official) 23%, Malay (official) 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil (official) 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9% (2000 census)

Religions: Buddhist 42.5%, Muslim 14.9%, Taoist 8.5%, Hindu 4%, Catholic 4.8%, other Christian 9.8%, other 0.7%, none 14.8% (2000 census)

Literacy: 92.5% (2000 census)

Urbanization: 100% (2010)

Access to Improved Water Sources: 100% (2009)

Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 100% (2009)

Sources: World Factbook, World Bank