Teaching Team From Japan Builds With Habitat In Bangladesh

British Diplomats Make Donation After Their Earlier Build

SATKHIRA, Bangladesh, 12th June 2007: A nine-strong Global Village volunteer team from the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program exchanged their academic setting for a build site and learnt something new from Habitat home partner families in Bangladesh.

(Top) The volunteers working alongside the Habitat home partners. (Bottom) The home partners’ happiness was shared by the volunteers when the house was completed.

Supportive: British Deputy High Commissioner Stephen Bridges (right) handing over a staff donation to HFH Bangladesh CEO Roger Bodary (left).

The team of foreigner teachers working in Hiroshima prefecture, southwestern Japan, helped to build two houses in Satkhira, about 180 km southwest of the capital Dhaka.

One of the Habitat home partner families is Morium Begum, 21, and her husband Shahidul Islam. They used to live in fear that their house with its thin wooden walls and clay tile roof would collapse on them during the annual monsoon season which brings heavy rains that trigger landslides. The other home partner, Nazma Begum, in her late 40s, was concerned that her old house did not provide greater protection for her four grown-up daughters.

With help from the nine volunteers who worked for 12 days, the two Begum families were able to have safe, decent and affordable homes. Each house has two rooms and is 221 sq. ft in size. Working alongside the home partners, the volunteers performed various tasks such as mixing mortar, building walls, carrying bricks, sand and cement, filling in mud and pounding the floors, and watering and curing bricks.

Moved by the help they received, the home partner families expressed their happiness that there were still good people around to lend a hand to the poor. The volunteers were equally appreciative. “Spending time with my partner family and local children is the favorite experience from this trip! The bond I began to feel with them is special. Thanks to everyone at Habitat for making this all possible,” said Miren James, a member of the Hiroshima JET team.

While in Satkhira, the Hiroshima JET team also visited an orphanage to donate clothes, toys and pencils to the children. The volunteers left with the hope of motivating more Global Village teams to help families in need in Bangladesh, and continuing to contribute through Habitat for Humanity in the future.

Separately, staff of the British High Commission in Dhaka made a donation to Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh in support of its work. The contribution came two months after 59 staff of the commission’s visa section helped build six houses in the northern Mymensingh district. Stephen Bridges, the British Deputy High Commissioner, handed over the staff contribution of 90,300 taka (US1,336) to HFH Bangladesh CEO Roger Bodary during a simple ceremony in Dhaka.

Bridges said: “UK is a major partner of Bangladesh from government and corporate level. But this is individual contribution of the High Commission staff. It is their personal commitment to the community.” He added: “We are blessed in many ways and it is our willingness to support those who do not enjoy the same level of living standard.”

In thanking the British High Commission staff for their generosity and passion to share with the poor, Bodary said: “I am hopeful that the examples of BHC Dhaka staff will inspire more people to come forward in contributing selflessly for the poor and marginalized of the society to build their dream homes through Habitat Bangladesh.”

In addition to the BHC contribution, British Airways staff earlier donated 27,720 taka (US410) to HFH Bangladesh.