Saturday, August 07, 2010

Habitat For Humanity

I've posted this on FB but Habitat For Humanity is a cause worth writing about. One weekend in May, just 3 weeks after starting school here, Brian, together with some other middle- and high-schoolers, build a house for a family in Korat (3 hours away from Bangkok), under the H4H programme.

When he went for the trip, I thought it was just piling some bricks in a general development, but no, the kids actually built (with professional supervision of course) a house specifically for a family in need.

And it's no simple handout either. This is what I got from their website on how this works:

- Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses alongside our homeowner (partner) families.
- Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor (sweat equity) into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.
- Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans.
- The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.


What an awesome cause, much better than Extreme Makeover:Home Edition right?

These are pictures Brian and his friends took from the trip.

The family the kids were building the house for gave each of them a rose :) Sweet.


The build site is right next to the family's cousin's house, where they've been sleeping on the kitchen floor all this while.






















I was really grateful to Brian's School Counselor Nancy for asking him to come along for the trip. He went on the bus not knowing anyone there and came back richer not only for the H4H experience but also in making more friends. He was all smiles and didn't exhibit any fatigue at all.

When I emailed Nancy to thank her, she replied, "It was EASY to have him along! Really impressive how easily he mixed in with the other kids, pitched in and worked hard, and could ANTICIPATE needs on the job site! He is certainly welcome to join the Habitat for Humanity club and do more house “builds” next year."

Anticipate needs? Really? Wow :) My little sotong is growing up!

But seriously, I'm really glad he is seeing first-hand that anyone can make a difference; just by contributing their time and effort, he and his friends have helped change the life of this family. One home at a time (yes, he intends to sign up for H4H club next school year).

4 comments:

monlim said...

What a meaningful project and I wish all SG kids have the opportunity to do something like this on a regular basis (vs visiting old folks homes once in 2 years to sing songs!!) It really drives home the message of giving back to the community. Well done, Brian!

Lilian said...

Visiting old folks home to sing songs...hehe, I think that's what we did during Eusoff Hall orientation, I even have photos of that visit.

Brian is really lucky he has the opportunity to get involved in something like this. The school has so many other initiatives including After the Wave, a relief programme started after the Tsunami. And the MS Counselor Daneah also led a group of Middle Schoolers in an Operation Smile project last November (http://www.daneahgalloway.com/blog/2009/11/final-project%E2%80%A6finally/). Would have been awesome to have been part of that.

Perhaps there's just more opportunity in Thailand given the huge income disparity. But I always feel this is what education should be about, and what kids will remember most of their schooling life.

Tsu Lin + + said...

Brian is such a conscientious boy who'll grow up to be a conscientious adult. When he's older, he could join Raleigh International : they do alot of these projects around the world and nearest projects are in Borneo.

Lilian said...

Sounds cool...is it a British organisation?

I don't know about conscientious...at the moment, he's just a kid who likes to go school, be with friends, go on school trips, have fun :) Much like how we were when we were young I guess. Just that the school here has many great initiatives for kids to learn to make a difference. Like I said, he's very lucky.