HFH Vietnam Scores On The Volunteer Front

September 5th, 2011

Canadian Students Build With Habitat For Second Year; US Consulate Marks First Build With HFH Vietnam

The team from the District School Board of Niagara marked the second year in which the Canadian volunteers built with Habitat.

After their return to Australia, the volunteers from Scotch College in Melbourne wanted to raise funds for a community school.

HFH Vietnam hosted its first-ever volunteer team from the U.S. Consul General’s office in Ho Chi Minh City in June.

HO CHI MINH CITY, 5th September 2011: For the second year, volunteers from Ontario in central Canada have built with Habitat for Humanity Vietnam.

Nine high school students and five teachers from the District School Board of Niagara worked together with a Habitat family in Tien Giang province, southern Vietnam.

Led by a teacher, the students aged 17 to 18 spent a week in Dang Hung Phuoc commune to help Tang The Cuong’s family build a new house. Cuong and his wife Phan Thi Cuc have to take care of their son, who has Down syndrome, while living in a house with no proper floor and no sanitary facilities.

The volunteers poured concrete for the floor, built brick walls, painted doors and refurbished roof panels, among other tasks. Lauren Beaudoin, a Grade 12 student, said: “We couldn’t really speak their language, but the hand gestures and the smiles were enough.”

On the last day of the build, Cuong could only said “Thank you” before his eyes started welling up. He was moved by the young volunteers who traveled a long way to help him build a home.

Back home, volunteer Evan Elliott shared his thoughts. “I just see the world differently now. The family we built the house for lives off C1.50 a day. Here you can’t even buy a coffee for that. I just look at things and wonder, wow, do I really need that?”

Earlier, two teams of Australian students also took part in Habitat builds in Tien Giang. The teams comprised a total of 19 students and three teachers from Scotch College in Melbourne. The boys, aged 16 to 18, built in Long Binh Dien commune, Cho Gao district, Tien Giang.

The volunteers worked hard. Within six hours, the volunteers poured concrete floors of two 50 sq. m. houses. After a whole day of working, the students had energy left for a game of football with the local children.

The volunteers bonded so well with the local community that after their return, they said they would like to raise more funds for the community school.

In the year to 30th June 2011, HFH Vietnam hosted 21 international teams from Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.S. comprising over 400 volunteers. In addition, five corporate and school teams, some 156 volunteers, also built with Habitat.

Earlier in June, a 25-member team from the office of the U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi City worked with two families in Long An province. It was the first time that the U.S. Consul General volunteered with HFH Vietnam.

Habitat home partner Vo Thi Huong was delighted by the hard work of the volunteers on her new house. “My daughters now have a safe place to study,” she said.

Another home partner Nguyen Thi Thu agreed. Her six-year old daughter has epilepsy and her new brick and concrete house means a safer place to be when the heavy seasonal rains come. Her old house had a dirt floor and a thatched roof.

“Thanks to Habitat, we don’t have to worry about the roof falling down on us,” said Thu.