Habitat for Humanity Thailand
Habitat's work in Thailand
Thailand News and Stories
Habitat for Humanity began in 1998 in Udon Thani province in northeastern Thailand. Since July 2007, HFH Thailand has been operating through its national office in Bangkok and Habitat Resource Centers in Rayong, for projects in the central area; Chiang Mai in the north; and Udon Thani in the northeast. Work in the south is overseen by an office in Ranong, near Phuket.
Housing needs in Thailand
Classified as an upper middle-income country by the World Bank in 2011, Thailand is on track to meet or exceed all its millennium development goals. Absolute poverty, or people living on US$1 a day, is less than 2 percent of the population. But pockets of poverty remain in the remote areas of northern Thailand where indigenous hill tribes live. Migrant workers from neighboring countries are also poor. Many Thais who left their rural villages to seek work in the cities often live in substandard housing and lack running water and adequate sanitation. While the government initiated a low-cost housing program and a slum upgrading program in 2003, the housing supply fell short. According to the local construction industry, Thailand needs 310,000 housing units annually, of which 180,000 are for low-income people.
How Habitat for Humanity works
Habitat for Humanity partners with low-income families to build decent homes with land and other resources from local governments, businesses and churches. Volunteer labor helps to reduce the cost of house construction. Typically, a Habitat home partner saves 10 percent to 15 percent of the cost of a house before construction begins and repays the remaining cost monthly. The repayments help Habitat to build more homes for other low-income families. Habitat home partners also contribute about 100 hours of their own labor to build their own houses alongside Habitat skilled workers and volunteers.
In recent years, HFH Thailand has focused on working with partners to provide complete community programs involving improved water and sanitation facilities, education, and health care as well as housing. Currently, Habitat works in 34 provinces, through its national office in Bangkok and resource centers located in the north, northeast, central and south. HFH Thailand’s houses are typically around 36 sq. m. in size. The design features the use of concrete hollow blocks with a tiled roof. In addition, Habitat builds wooden stilt houses with metal sheet roofs in southern Thailand. House construction normally takes about 30 days.
Habitat also helps families rebuild after disasters. HFH Thailand’s post-tsunami-reconstruction program assisted 1,900 families. Habitat built on this experience to respond to flooding in late 2011 and in November 2010.
In November 2009, Habitat for Humanity International’s global signature event, the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, was held in Nong Gon Kru village on the outskirts of Chiang Mai city in the north of the country. Hundreds of local and overseas volunteers worked together with Habitat home partners at the main site for the Carter Work Project, building 82 houses over five days.
Habitat receives strong support from a range of corporate partners. These include beverage giant Coca-Cola, real estate company Ananda Development, IT solutions company Cisco, Government Housing Bank, JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok and Siam Cement Group, among others. International schools also lent a hand.
Thailand is a popular destination for volunteers with teams visiting from the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2011, over 80 teams comprising more than 1,470 volunteers worked with HFH Thailand. Through the Friends of Habitat program, local celebrities and business leaders volunteer their time and labor promoting HFH Thailand’s cause at media events or builds.
- March 2012: Nearly 170 students and teachers from Bangkok’s Ruamrudee International School and its sister schools help in the ReBuilding Thailand flood response in Lopburi province. The students also raised more than one million baht (about US$32,500), enough to rehabilitate 10 houses.
- February 2012: Coca-Cola donated over 40 million baht (about US$1.3 million) which enabled HFH Thailand to mobilize 3,500 volunteers, including Coca-Cola staff, for Habitat’s response to the 2011 floods. Over 600 homes and 25 schools have been rebuilt or repaired in the flood-hit provinces of Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Bangkok.
- November 2011: First clean-up operation started as part of
- HFH Thailand’s response to severe flooding which had affected the country since July 2011. Over 40 volunteers cleaned up a kindergarten in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand. They cleaned the library and classroom desks and chairs as well as repainted the walls.
- September 2011: HFH Thailand played host to more than 700 people who attended the 3rd Asia-Pacific Housing Forum held in Bangkok.
- November 2010: HFH Thailand distributed shelter repair kits to benefit 250 families affected by severe flooding in Patthalung province in the south. Chevron Thailand donated US$87,000 to HFH Thailand’s flood response effort.
- November 2010: More than 40 volunteers including Cerebos Pacific staff used empty Brand’s Essence of Chicken bottles as a filler for cement floors on a house in Pathumthani province, north of Bangkok. Volunteers used the same approach for a test house in September. June 2010: State-owned Government Housing Bank of Thailand signed an agreement to fund the building or renovation of some 600 homes by HFH Thailand over the next four years.
- May 2010: Volunteers from local developer Ramon Land built with HFH Thailand in Rayong, in the country’s southeast. Led by chief executive officer Hubert Viriot, the team built with two Habitat home partners in Map Ta Phut municipality.
- January 2010, HFH Thailand and its partners handed over the community center at the main site for 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Nong Gon Kru.
- November 2009: Hundreds of overseas and domestic volunteers including many celebrities built 82 houses in Nong Gon Kru village, Chiang Mai province, as part of the 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Celebrity volunteers included China-born movie star Jet Li; Indian film star and Habitat Global Hero John Abraham and actor R “Maddy” Madhavan; Sri Lanka actress Jacqueline Fernandez; South Korean actor Lee Seo-jin; Japanese footballer Hidetoshi Nakata; and HFH Thailand’s goodwill ambassador, singer and actor Rattapoom “Film” Tokongsub.
- October 2009, Cargill Siam celebrated its 100th house built with HFH Thailand. To mark the occasion, more than 110 volunteers from Cargill, Betagro and Nestle worked on four houses in Chiang Mai.
Population: 67,091,089 (July 2012 est.)
Land Area: 513,120 sq. km
Ethnic Groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Languages: Thai, English, ethnic and regional dialects
Religions: Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)
Literacy: 92.6% (2000 census)
Urbanization: 34% (2010)
Population Living on US$1.25 a Day: 1% (2005)
Access to Improved Water Sources: 98% (2010)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 96% (2010)
Sources: The World Factbook, World Bank