Taking place for the 5th consecutive year, the Habitat Young Leaders Build campaign mobilises more than 1 million young people to take part in simultaneous house builds in 15 countries across the Asia-Pacific region this March and April. The annual Young Leaders Build is Habitat for Humanity’s largest youth movement to raise public awareness towards poverty housing. Through volunteer work and power to influence, young leaders build homes and shed light on the important need for adequate housing to help families gain strength, stability and independence.
There is an urgent need for shelters that are safe and affordable in the Asia-Pacific region. The United Nations estimates that more than 500 million people in the region live in slums, representing more than half of the world’s slum dwellers, and that globally 1.6 billion people live without adequate shelter.
In response to the movement, more than 120 youth and corporate volunteers from Hong Kong and mainland China raised fund and built safe, decent and affordable houses for families in need in Shiming Village in Conghua, Guangdong, on 25-27 March. They constructed houses for 4 partner families who have disabled members and were living in unhygienic, dangerous mud houses. Because of disabilities and heavy medical expenses, the families lacked financial capacity to improve their housing conditions. Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong gained generous support from various donors to build homes and hope for the families in need, including Gold Sponsors: Samsung Electronics, United World College Changshu; Silver Sponsor: The Dow Chemical Company; Support Organization: Owens Corning; Team Sponsors: Bloomberg, Canadian International School of Hong Kong.
“Young people are future leaders who can bring impact to the world and end poverty housing, and we are pleased to have the younger generation to act and speak out on the need for decent homes as a way out of poverty. What we build for the 4 families is more than a house. We also rekindle their resilient spirit and they can feel empowered to live through any obstacles in the future,” said Tony Chan, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong.
For his first volunteering service in “Young Leaders Build 2016”, Habitat Ambassador, Wilfred Lau, is excited. “I am glad to build houses for local villagers in need together with all the loving volunteers. It was not an easy task but the whole experience was fruitful and memorable,” shared Wilfred during his build in Conghua. To him, the simple meals prepared by the villagers are the most delicious and full of warmth. He also comes to understand that each step in building a house should be treated with great caution.
The Young Leaders Build campaign will reach its peak on 2 April 2016 across Asia-Pacific with hundreds of thousands of volunteers build houses across Asia-Pacific. The Young Leaders Build campaign continues in Hong Kong next month in form of house repair services to bring local families in need a decent place to live.