Japanese University Volunteers Build With Habitat With Dow Chemical Japan’s Support

Teams Made Presentation To Dow After Returning From Bangladesh, Indonesia And Philippines

TOKYO, 24th July 2009: Thanks to the generosity of Habitat for Humanity’s strong supporter, Dow Chemical, four university volunteer teams from Japan were able to build homes with families in need in various Asia-Pacific countries. Two of the teams recently made a presentation on their experiences at Dow Chemical Japan’s office in Tokyo.

The team from Meiji Gakuin University giving a presentation about their experiences on a Habitat build in Indonesia.

Members of the two Japanese university teams who went on Habitat builds with Dow Chemical Japan’s president Peter Sykes (back row, fourth from left).

Dow Chemical Japan had paid for the Global Village volunteer teams’ expenses when they worked with Habitat on build sites in Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines between February and March 2009. More than 50 volunteers from Aoyama Gakuin University and Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo, and Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto were sent on these trips.

Most of the university volunteers paid for their air travel by taking on part-time jobs. Nineteen-year-old Takumi Hamasaki, who is studying economics at Aoyama Gakuin University, said: “Fortunately, Dow’s program for students helped our (volunteering) activity with Habitat. I really appreciated that.”

Over 30 people including Dow Chemical Japan’s staff attended the presentation made by the teams from Aoyama Gakuin University and Meiji Gakuin University who returned from Habitat builds in Bangladesh and Indonesia respectively. Dow Chemical Japan and Korea’s president Peter Sykes, who is also president of Dow Automotive, said: “Thank you very much for their effort. And I also appreciated that they learned by a special and unique experience.”

The volunteers themselves gained from the Habitat builds. “Young volunteers often question themselves if raising money and donating it all to Habitat does more good than traveling across the globe to volunteer. However, many of them come home from the trip realizing that all the hard work put in by the volunteers was encouraging to the home partners who worked alongside them,” said Takumi, one of the university volunteers.

He remembered a Habitat home partner who said of the volunteers, “they came from their country and worked with us like our own family members. It has given us great joy”.