Graphic for "Youth from Home for Homes" - Young Leaders Build 2021culmination event

Marking a decade

Youth-led campaign peaks with virtual conference supporting Habitat's COVID-19 response.

MANILA (April 23, 2021) – The United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, will deliver the opening remarks during the “Youth from Home for Homes” virtual conference, the peak of the 2021 Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build campaign. Over a hundred youth from the Asia-Pacific region have registered for the event, which also marks a decade of youth volunteerism for the cause of safe, affordable housing.

“Young people are the backbone of society, and our only hope in creating a better world and a better future for all. But youth cannot do it alone. It is pivotal that young people be included as full-fledged partners in all decision and policy-making that affects their lives and futures, including SDG 11, target 1 on access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services,” said Wickramanayake.

Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth

In her opening remarks, Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, sees young people playing a pivotal role.

Joining the U.N. Envoy on Youth for the conference on April 24 are young leaders who will present highlights from their community-based projects in support of Habitat’s work during the pandemic. These include raising funds to build core houses in Sri Lanka and advocating for affordable housing among local government officials in the Philippines.

“Many in our community lost their jobs and livelihoods but we want to support our community and keep it healthy during the pandemic,” said Kim Claire Darugo, a Filipino volunteer. A member of Pasig 1 Community Youth Group, which is active in a neighborhood that Habitat helped build, she and her fellow volunteers are raising funds for hygiene kits to be donated to families in vulnerable situations in the Philippines.

Almost 70 volunteers from 10 countries have started to implement multi-month projects under the Young Leaders Build campaign. The volunteers comprise university students, young professionals and youth with vocations.

“We see young people negatively impacted by COVID-19 especially in the areas of education, opportunities and social contacts. In these unprecedented times of economic and social distress, I am inspired by the resilience of these 70 young leaders who have responded to the challenge to support Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” said Luis Noda, Vice President for Asia-Pacific, Habitat for Humanity International.

Other volunteer-led projects include providing cash and in-kind assistance for families in need to repair or build safe, healthy homes and the construction of community facilities such as handwashing stations, solar lighting and urban gardens. Volunteers also plan to train other youth and their families in ways to protect their households from the coronavirus, promote mental health, and facilitate learning from home.

Since 2012, more than 17 million Habitat Young Leaders Build supporters have raised almost US$9 million to help more than 33,000 families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. While the 2021 campaign peaks in April, the momentum will continue as youth groups and volunteers will continue their projects until 2022.