HFH China Launches First Phase Of Home Restoration Project In Hong Kong Fishing Village

Nearly 70 Corporate And Other Volunteers Work On Stilt Houses In Need Of Repair

HONG KONG, 15th June 2010: Habitat for Humanity China launched the first phase of its first home restoration project in Hong Kong recently with a five-day volunteer build. The project will transform lives, especially those of elderly residents, in a fishing community in Tai O village on the southwest coast of Lantau island, near the international airport.

Corporate and university volunteers joined hands to repair four stilt houses in the first phase of HFH China’s home restoration project in Tai O fishing village, Hong Kong.

Wells Fargo’s executive vice president Cliff Lawrence helping to prepare the Tai O site ahead of the project launch. He also volunteered for a five-day build under the first phase of the Tai O project.

Children who would usually not have the opportunity to see a ballet performance live were invited to the dance benefit in aid of HFH China.

Nearly 70 volunteers worked on four stilt houses in need of repair. They came from financial services companies Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley, law firm Ogier, Hong Kong-headquartered conglomerate China Resources, Hong Kong-based electricity company CLP and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Prior to the launch, several Wells Fargo volunteers helped with site preparations. They visited three Habitat home partners, helped an elderly woman to remove clutter from her 28 square meter stilt house and prepared wood and timber to be used in the construction.

Cliff Lawrence, executive vice president and the regional manager for Asia, Wells Fargo Bank, was a volunteer during the recent five-day build. Earlier, he was among several Wells Fargo staff who helped to prepare the site in Tai O ahead of the project launch. “After a hot and sweaty Sunday in Tai O, my wife and I and our fellow employees were deeply touched by the tears of thanks from the 81-year-old woman we were helping. Maybe with our help, Tai O’s stilt-house lifestyle will continue along with the strong will and independence of its residents”, said Lawrence.

Another volunteer, Scarlett Oi-Lan Pong said: “I have done a lot of volunteer work but volunteering with Habitat is very unique – you get to contribute your effort while witnessing the changes that you make to the lives of these people in need – and it is good physical exercise.” A pharmacist by training and a district councilor in Shatin, Pong is also the chair of the Outstanding Young Persons’ Association.

HFH China has received about HK356,000 (US45,690) for the Tai O project. Wells Fargo had earlier committed HK84,000 to support the Habitat project.

Funds raised also included the HK250,000 that was garnered from a performance by Hong Kong Ballet in aid of HFH China. The performance by Hong Kong’s premier ballet company on 23rd May was held in Hong Kong’s harbor-side Cultural Center. Complimentary tickets were provided to underprivileged children and others who would never have seen live dance before. A silent auction included prizes to stay at Banyan Tree resorts: the Singapore resort spa developer recently unveiled a partnership with HFH China.

HFH China’s home restoration project will be carried out in three phases, in partnership with the Hong Kong government, the Young Women’s Christian Association and the Tai O rural committee. HFH China mobilized volunteers for house repairs in the first phase of the project which will end in June 2010. In the second phase, an additional 20 stilt houses will be restored or refurbished. Solar energy appliances will also be installed in all 24 houses. The last phase includes maintenance of houses, restoration of public pavements and improvement of sanitation facilities.