HFH China Draws More Corporate Support For Tai O Restoration Project

Over 50 Corporate Volunteers Help Repair Homes For The Elderly In Hong Kong Fishing Village

HONG KONG, 19th November 2010: Habitat for Humanity China’s restoration project in a Hong Kong fishing village drew further support from corporations who donated nearly HK379,000 (US49,000) to send a total of more than 50 employees on a recent Habitat build.

View of Tai O fishing village in Hong Kong, the site of HFH China’s three-phase restoration project.

Volunteers tackled a variety of tasks, ranging from painting (top) to fitting new windows (middle) to replacing floorboards (bottom).

The corporations which took part were Citibank Hong Kong, the Hong Kong branch of U.S.-headquartered financial services company Wells Fargo, mortgage insurer QBE, Florida, U.S.-headquartered enterprise software company Citrix Systems and Hong Kong’s Shui On Construction.

The three-phase restoration project is being implemented in Tai O fishing village at the western end of Hong Kong’s Lantau island, near the international airport.

Through the Tai O project, HFH China is providing safe housing to mostly elderly people and helping a coastal community to preserve its cultural heritage.

The five houses which the volunteers worked on recently were part of the second phase which aims to repair 20 homes built above the sea on stilts.

The first phase attracted volunteers from Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Ogier, China Resources Property, China Light and Power, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to repair four homes.

Volunteers on the recent build worked on various tasks such as painting, fitting new windows and replacing wooden floorboards.

“The experience with the volunteer work under the direction of Habitat at the Tai O village can only be one of humility amidst pride in working with fellow members of our teams at Citrix in providing a better standard of living for those who are in need,” said Wayne Masters, financial controller at Citrix Systems.

“The team at Habitat provided us with the necessary information, tools, guidance and assistance that made the day more than what was expected when first arriving on site.

“The amount of work that has been done to date, and to be done in the future is an awakening to what is needed in the community of Tai O. By giving the few hours out of our hectic life will hopefully contribute a small but meaningful step in completion of that project,” he added.

His fellow volunteer, Carol Ho, support account manager at Citrix, said: “The project is great and meaningful as we can have a chance to help the elderly — not just providing the financial support; instead, we participated in home rebuilding and contributing as a team to fulfill the objective.”

Before the volunteers arrived for the late October build, HFH China took precautions for elderly residents in Tai O against a typhoon. Typhoon Megi swept from northern Philippines to Taiwan, Vietnam and southern China but spared Hong Kong.

In Tai O, HFH China moved the elderly people’s furniture and appliances and strengthened their homes’ windows to protect against strong winds. A church hall was designated as a temporary shelter.

To highlight the Tai O project, HFH China celebrated World Habitat Day with an event at MegaBox, a mall at Kowloon Bay.

Separately, HFH China invited primary and secondary school students in Hong Kong to take part in a competition to design a stilt house modeled after those in Tai O. More than 10 schools also signed up to tour Tai O village to get inspiration.

HFH China is gearing up for another four-house volunteer build in December and preparing for community improvement in the third phase of the Tai O project.

The third phase includes the construction of a training and development center, solar energy lighting and sanitation systems as well as walkways in the neighborhood.