HFH Cambodia Launches 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project

Photo Exhibition By Habitat’s Photojournalist To Travel Around Cambodia, Raising Awareness About Poverty Housing

PNOMH PENH, 31st July 2009: Habitat for Humanity Cambodia launched its part of the 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project recently with about 40 guests attending the event held in a Phnom Penh hotel.

(From left): Somethearith Din, HFH Cambodia advisory board member, Jim Yarbrough, resource development director, Habitat for Humanity Asia-Pacific; Bernadette Bolo-Duthy, HFH Cambodia’s national director; US ambassador Carol Rodley; Aileen Munn who together with her husband Paul (far right) donated money to the New Life community; Kol Sam-Ol, deputy governor of Kandal province, Sopha Chandy and her husband Chea Chandy.

Habitat photojournalist Mikel Flamm’s photo exhibition of the families (above) in Steung Meanchey will help to raise awareness about poverty housing in Cambodia.

Guests included US Ambassador Carol Rodley, who had earlier led a 13-member team to volunteer at the CWP site in Oudong, Kandal province, and deputy governor of Kandal province Kol Sam-Ol. Habitat’s representatives included Bernadette Bolo-Duthy, HFH Cambodia’s national director, and Jim Yarbrough, resource development director for Habitat for Humanity, Asia-Pacific. In addition to some potential Habitat home partners, more than 50 representatives from local and multinational corporations, banks and local universities were also present.

The launch showcased a photo exhibition by photojournalist Mikel Flamm from Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific area office. His images depict the lives of families who worked and lived at a dumpsite and will move to the new CWP community in November. The photo exhibit will travel around Cambodia from early August to raise awareness about poverty housing in the country and encourage youth volunteerism. The first stop for the exhibition will be at Pannasastra University of Cambodia.

During the one-week Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in November 2009, HFH Cambodia and local and overseas volunteers will build new houses together with 21 families who used to live and work at a dumpsite in Steung Meanchey, about 60 km. north of Phnom Penh. Earlier, a team of Peace Corps volunteers from the US and potential Habitat home partners took part in a test build in Oudong.

In addition to repaying about US15 monthly for the house cost, each of the 21 families is required to put in at least 250 hours of their time into building the house. Habitat calls this contribution of labor – sweat equity.

The Steung Meanchey community is now known as the New Life community, representing the new lease of life which the 21 families will receive after moving into their Habitat homes. The proximity of their new homes to mountainous Oudong, a popular tourist destination, bode well in terms of employment opportunities, said Chea Chandy, leader of the New Life community. Garment factories in the area also spelt positive livelihood prospects. “I hope the new generation will have bright opportunities for their lives,” Chandy said at the launch event.

The launch was featured on local TV channels as well as in a few Cambodian newspapers. Several corporates and other guests have also indicated their interest in supporting HFH Cambodia following the launch. Among them were US Embassy, the local ACLEDA Bank, AusAID, Malayan Banking, Cambodian logistics company Geolink Group, local telecommunications company QB and Australian-based miner OZ Minerals.