The more we get together
MANILA (April 16, 2018) — In the four months since the launch of Asia-Pacific’s largest youth-focused campaign, millions of people in the region have been doing their part to PLAY LEAD SHARE. Launched on International Volunteers Day, December 5, the 2018 Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build has seen participants and supporters volunteering at Habitat project sites, raising funds offline and online, and speaking out for the need for decent housing and secure land tenure.
In March, a total of more than 100 international volunteers joined the first-ever Asia Build in Myanmar and Pacific Build in Fiji. Meanwhile, two youth leaders from Hong Kong and Japan and one youth organization from Fiji received the first set of HYLB advocacy grants, with more winners to be announced before the campaign’s culmination on April 22.
PLAY a part and SHARE
- Bangladesh: builds were held from January to February 2018 for the construction of four houses in Kaliganj, Gazipur, near Dhaka City. Students from international schools, members of youth organizations and individual volunteers joined the builds. Habitat Bangladesh has also partnered with schools and universities across the city and tapped its online platforms to target about 30,000 people in publicizing its work and calling for more young leaders to support the cause of decent housing.
- Cambodia: Habitat leveraged the HYLB campaign to show what volunteering and youth engagement could contribute to Cambodia’s national housing policy. It has also organized a roadshow to promote HYLB in schools, colleges and universities in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and invited students to the culmination event in May in Phnom Penh. Earlier, 29 students and three faculty members of the Footprints International School joined Habitat Cambodia for community outreach in Ksach Kandal district to allow students to learn about housing and land tenure challenges and solutions.
- Hong Kong: various events that have been run in the past four months included engaging students in 10 local schools to paint murals to raise awareness about shelter and sustainable communities. Led by almost 1,000 passionate and energetic young volunteers, the HYLB campaign in Hong Kong has also assisted 60 families to renovate and another 68 families to clean their homes.
- Fiji: local youth did their part to raise funds for HYLB in several activities such as a walkathon in February and the ‘Spare a Dollar’ campaign, a partnership between ANZ Bank and Suva Sangam School. Builds included a a six-week project to construct Losori Evacuation Center and Live Budoka Evacuation Center. A retrofitting project in Tavuya Village saw 20 volunteers working daily for two weeks. Habitat Fiji is currently holding an online quiz thread for young people on its social media platforms. The winner, to be unveiled on April 20, will get a two-day stay in a partner hotel.
- India: musician, talk show host and emcee Mihir Joshi is leading efforts to to promote Habitat Young Leaders Build 2018 in India and beyond. His partnership with Habitat India was launched through an online activity on April 7, World Health Day. He spoke out about the importance of handwashing, proper hygiene and sanitation and shelter in improving the health of families. Since the campaign’s launch, over 2,000 local and international volunteers from 70 teams have worked on builds in different locations in India. An awareness campaign centered on shelter and sanitation is also underway to reach 3 million people in India’s underserved communities and schools through partner agencies, schools and universities.
- Indonesia: At HYLB roadshows and youth engagement activities in schools and universities, Habitat Indonesia has shared stories of how the lives of families have changed after moving into their Habitat homes. In February and March, 170 youths took part in activities including the construction of a public toilet facility at a Habitat project site.
- Japan: More than 760 students from Habitat Japan’s campus chapters flexed their muscles at builds in March, including over 70 volunteers who went to Myanmar for Asia Build. Youth supporters are also active on various social media sites, raising awareness about their activities and leading the way in using the campaign hashtag #HabitatYLB.
- Korea: about 300 volunteers are set to join Global Village trips to build in Chennai, India; Cirebon, Indonesia; and Pluakdeng, Rayong, Thailand, in a partnership with long-term donors POSCO Beyond and Happy Move, a corporate social responsibility program that is funded by Hyundai Motor. Separately, nearly 200 students from Seoul University, Yonsei University, Korea University and Ehwa University volunteered to renovate houses in Seoul, South Korea. A team of 15 Korean youth reporters also joined a local activity to help repair, repaint and clean homes of the elderly and to document the activities (read article in Korean). In addition, Habitat Korea joined hands with Korean pop idol N, leader of the band VIXX, to help promote the HYLB campaign to Korean youth.
- Nepal: about 90 volunteers took part in Habitat Nepal’s Impact Asia Build on February 17 in Kavrepalanchok district. In the east, supporters continued to learn about water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as disaster resilience through the Participatory Approach to Safe Shelter Awareness training. A partner microfinance institution also supported HYLB in the east by hosting three builds in Jhapa district. Through training in the Sustainable Development Goals, Habitat Nepal is also engaging youths from colleges and organizations in advocating for decent shelter, secure land tenure, slum upgrading, disaster resilience and gender equality.
- Philippines: Over 120 youth volunteers from 17 teams that included two Global Village teams from Japan have built homes and raised funds with Habitat Philippines.
- Sri Lanka: Habitat has hosted four Global Village teams comprising 56 volunteers between December and April. The volunteers worked on houses in Batticaloa district in the east and the estate of Hellboda, Nuwaraeliya District, central Sri Lanka over the course of the campaign.
- Vietnam: six international schools have joined the HYLB campaign while another international school organized a seminar and workshop to raise awareness about Habitat for Humanity. A total of 185 volunteers have worked on eight houses and raised US$26,600 out of an overall target of US$30,000. In March, Habitat Vietnam also hosted a Global Village team from Japan to help build one house in Quang Nam province in the east. Three more build events are planned between April and June in the provinces of Hoa Binh and Thai Binh in northern Vietnam.
Habitat, together with the Center for Creative Leadership, continues to train youths in Nepal and the Philippines under a new initiative. The first phase of the HYLB Leadership Academy program aims to equip youths to empower other young people with leadership and management skills to implement projects that contribute to building homes and sustainable communities.
Among the first to run the HYLB Leadership Academy, Habitat Nepal is partnering with youth organizations who will conduct their own training sessions for local communities and organizations. Meanwhile, Habitat Philippines is working with the country’s Department of Education to roll out the training program across the country with events planned in May in Benguet in northern Luzon and Davao city in the southern island of Mindanao.
Others in the pipeline include a two-day coaching session on the Sustainable Development Goals for students and scouts in Nepal. Training under the first phase of the program will be rolled out in Cambodia, India and Indonesia by December 2018.
Countdown to April 21
As HYLB supporters continue to speak out and raise awareness and funds online and offline as well as build homes, a race is set for April 21, the culmination of the campaign. Habitat is calling all campus chapters, partner youth organizations and interested individuals to “Race to Fundraise”. The competition encourages young people to contribute resources from their network of friends and relatives to support families in need of secure, affordable homes. Create a fundraising page at bit.ly/HabitatYLBxG2H by April 21. The winner of the regional prize will get to choose one of these: join the Vietnam Big Build in November 2018, or undergo training at the HYLB Leadership Academy, or a new Samsung J7 Prime phone.
Alternatively, Habitat supporters can #OpenTheDoor on their social media networks to raise awareness about the need for decent housing that helps families achieve strength, stability and self-reliance. On April 21, #OpenTheDoor participants will post photos and videos of themselves opening a door. The symbolic act conveys the feeling of security upon entering our home as well as the joy of Habitat homeowners when they receive the keys and open the door to their new homes.
During the HYLB culmination weekend, thousands of participants from Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, along with local families, will gather in various Habitat communities across the region to build homes while many more others will show their support online.
For more information, join the HYLB Facebook group and the #HabitatYLB thread on Twitter.