Over 200 Korean College Students Supported By Hyundai Motor Help HFH China To Rebuild Homes For Earthquake-Hit Families In Sichuan

Hyundai Also Sends Some 100 College Students To Build With HFH Brazil

SEOUL, 3rd March 2010: More than 300 college students, supported by South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company, helped to build homes with Habitat for Humanity in China and Brazil.

Korean volunteers tying rebars (above), carrying buckets of cement (bottom right) and hamming it up (bottom left).

Earthquake-affected families who live at government shelters in Changzhen village, China’s Sichuan province, were treated to a traditional performance by the volunteers.

The students were recruited under Hyundai’s Happy Move Global Youth Volunteers program. Two teams of more than 100 students each arrived one after another to rebuild homes with earthquake-affected families in Sichuan province, southwestern China. At the build site in Changzhen village, Xiaoyudong town, Pengzhou city, the volunteers helped to carry buckets of cement and tied rebars, among other tasks.

After returning to South Korea, one of the team leaders, Jun-hyuk Moon, said: “I can still hear voices saying ‘jia you’ (to boost spirits). They cheered us up every time when we started work. Even though we couldn’t communicate with one another, our goals and thoughts were the same so it really didn’t matter.

“As the going got tougher, the brick walls also got higher. Although we couldn’t build a whole house, we were very happy with the time we had spent.”

Another team leader, Chul-hu Hong, said: “We went to Sichuan to build hopes and happiness, not just a house. We found that our love and efforts can be a great help to those who had been through an earthquake. Although we couldn’t communicate well with each other, during the eight days of working together, we could feel and understand their pain. We will never forget the great partnership we had.”

In August 2009, 110 Korean university students who were part of the Happy Move group, built in earthquake-affected Yangping village, Xiaoyudong town, Sichuan. After the build, Hyundai presented a US150,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity for post-earthquake reconstruction in China’s Sichuan province. Read more.

For this year’s build, at about the same time that the second Hyundai team was working in Sichuan, another team of 106 college students were at a Habitat build site west of San Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. At the site of Habitat’s 200-house Colinas da Oeste project, the volunteers helped to paint the inside and outside of houses as well as erect walls, among other tasks. The volunteers also took part in a ceremony to mark the presentation of Hyundai Motor’s US100,000 donation to HFH Brazil.

After the build, the students visited Piracicaba city where Hyundai’s new manufacturing plant is located. They continued with other volunteer work and presented another US55,000 donation from Hyundai to the mayor of Piracicaba.

Jo-eun Kwon, who volunteered on the Brazil build, said: “When we went back to our rooms, our outfits were so dirty because of all the hard work. Shoveling, plastering, weeding, digging a hole — all these were so strange and difficult for me. But after working a few days with friends, I learned that these are for people in need. We only had a short time to help but it didn’t take me long to understand the need of having a small but decent house.”

The Happy Move Global Youth Volunteers program is part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group’s social responsibility initiative through which university students are sent overseas to lend a helping hand in disadvantaged areas. The program sends about 1,000 university student volunteers to different corners of the globe every year.