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.
The housing need in Thailand
With strong economic growth, Thailand has been able to reduce poverty from 21 percent in 2000 to around 8 percent, or 5.4 million people, in 2009. Thailand has met the majority of its Millennium Development Goals ahead of the 2015 deadline. However, vulnerable groups such as migrants, informal workers, and displaced persons, are not equally benefiting from Thailand’s economic successes. Disasters such as droughts and devastating flooding in 2011-2012 and the subsequent flood in 2013 also affect many low-income families. Having lost their jobs and savings, these families are unable to repair or rebuild their homes despite government assistance.
Building decent homes
HFH Thailand partners with low-income families to build, repair or rehabilitate their homes. Volunteer labor helps to reduce the cost of house construction. A Habitat home partner saves 10-15 percent of the cost of the house before construction begins. Each home partner’s monthly repayments enable Habitat to help other families build homes and hope.
Since the devastating flooding of 2011, HFH Thailand has distributed clean-up kits and emergency shelter kits to nearly 4,000 families in 11 provinces. Habitat also helped more than 1,400 families to rebuild their homes and lives. In addition, 32 schools were rehabilitated and three multi-purpose buildings were built in Ayutthaya and Phitsanulok provinces.
Housing finance and construction technical assistance
In Maha Sarakham province, northeastern Thailand, Habitat’s partner organizations provide low-income families with housing finance education to help them save for home improvements. HFH Thailand also helps families to improve their homes through construction technical assistance.
Sustainable community development
In Galyani Vadhana district, northern Chiang Mai province, HFH Thailand has rebuilt school dormitories and improve water and sanitation facilities in a local school. An old government office building has been turned into a tourist information center to promote the district’s attractions as well as Habitat’s work.
Meet a Habitat family
Ekawat Chaichana and Jitra Nakhonsri have a six-yearold daughter Junjira who was born with cleft lip. Jitra is a housewife while Ekawat works as a welder in a factory. They have been living in a rental house for many years. Ekawat often works overtime to earn more money to support his family and to build a permanent home. After 10 years of hard work, he managed to buy a plot of land. He could finally build his dream home with HFH Thailand and its corporate partner. “Not only do we have a lovely new home, Junjira also had an operation for her cleft lip and is having therapy sessions until she is fully recovered. Habitat and Dow have given us an opportunity of a life time. We are very happy and grateful,” said Ekawat.
Population: 67.7 million (July 2014 est.)
Urbanization: 34.1 percent live in cities (2011)
Life expectancy: 78 years
Unemployment rate: 2.8 percent
Population living below poverty line: 7.8 percent (2010 est.)
Access to Improved Water Sources: 93.8 percent (2012 est.)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 92.3 percent (2012 est.)
Sources: World Factbook