First China School On Habitat Build In Yunnan

More Than 20 Students From Wuxi No. 1 High School Work With Habitat Families In Ganhaizi Village

KUNMING, 20th December 2010: A student volunteer team from Wuxi No. 1 High School in Jiangsu province is thought to be the first local school to build with Habitat for Humanity in China.

(Top) The Wuxi No.1 High School volunteers with Habitat families in Ganhaizi village, Yunnan province.(Middle, Bottom) Volunteers helped to move bricks and dig to prepare for the laying of foundation. They also helped the villagers to harvest maize.

In early November 2010, more than 20 students worked with Habitat home partner families in Yunnan province in the southwest.

During the week-long build, the volunteers moved bricks, excavated, dug and moved earth in preparation for laying foundations in Ganhaizi village, about three-and-a-half-hours’ drive north of Yunnan’s capital Kunming.

The students also had a taste of life in the village when they spent an afternoon harvesting maize.

For recreation, they had a barbecue as well as played basketball with the local people.

Most of the volunteers are urban dwellers who have no inkling of life in the rural areas.

One of the volunteers, Allen, said: “The local houses are very different with few windows. The rooms are dark and damp. The local school is really simple and basic…although they (villagers) have limited support, they are still happy, unlike the people in the city who are not happy with good living conditions.”

Another volunteer, Tom, said: “It is the first time most of us go so far away from home. Besides seeing so many images which we don’t see in our everyday life, we learnt how to be optimistic just like those villagers.”

New friendships were also forged during the build. Charlotte said: “I am a new student in my class and didn’t know my class mates well. During the week in Yunnan, I had more chances to talk to them. From their attitudes toward the work and the team spirit reflected in the activity, I begin to like my class mates much more.”

Others were thrilled how a little help goes a long way. Jerry said: “This is my first time helping others to build (homes), together with my friends. The work might have been very simple and easy, and we just did a small part, but I did it and helped them. I used my power to show my love and philanthropy; it is the power of youth.”

Finally, Allen “realized that something may be nothing to us but actually may be a big deal to others. What I have done in my life so far is so limited. I need to put more effort into helping others although I am still young.”

The Wuxi No. 1 High School volunteer team raised funds for their trip from a fundraising concert in their school and from parents’ donations.

Previous school teams who built with Habitat in China have come from international schools.