Completion of Mekong Big Builds in Vietnam

190 international volunteers rejoice with 25 families at the completion of decent homes

Huynh Nhi Ha helping to move bricks to build her own house. (Bottom, from left) Volunteers included New Zealander Ngatuakana Wichman, Vietnamese Nghiem Tuan Anh and American Jackie Hintz.

MY THO CITY, Vietnam (August 12, 2013) — In August, 25 families celebrated the completion of decent homes together with 190 international volunteers at the Mekong Big Builds — Vietnam in Tien Giang province in the south. Volunteers from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the US, Cambodia, Germany, Singapore and China attended the closing ceremony in Chao Gao district.

Speaking on behalf of other new Habitat home partners, Huynh Nhi Ha promised to provide a loving and nurturing environment to her children and make sure they take full advantage of the opportunity received.

Huynh’s words were reassuring to Ngatuakana Wichman, an 81-year-old volunteer from New Zealand. Ngatuakana hoped the younger Vietnamese people would continue to be as hardworking and resourceful as the older generation.

Although Jackie Hintz has been volunteering with Habitat through the Thrivent Builds for the past 15 years, it was her first time working in Vietnam. “It’s hot and it’s humid, but there is nowhere else I’d rather be.”

For Paul Foster, a Singapore-based actor and model, mere fatigue did not stop him from working hard during the weeklong build. After he had finished carting construction materials, he would find something else to do. On the day of house dedication, Foster knew that the families were not the only ones helped. Like other volunteers, he was grateful to the families for providing such wonderful experiences.

Representatives of the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (Paccom), one of the partners of HFH Vietnam for the special build, also joined the build. Nghiem Tuan Anh from Hanoi said: “Learning first-hand about the struggles some people face makes me respect them even more. I feel I’m doing the right thing and I hope to build again in the future.”

The other partners for the Mekong Big Builds are Tien Giang Union of Friendship Organization and the People’s Committee of Cho Gao district.

HFH Vietnam is a branch office of Habitat for Humanity International and began operations in 2001 in Danang in the central coastal region. HFH Vietnam builds decent housing and water and sanitation facilities as well as helps families with house repairs or renovations, secure tenure and technical support in housing construction.

Habitat works in Hoa Binh and Thai Binh provinces in the north; and, Long An, Tien Giang and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces in the south. HFH Vietnam has also launched disaster response projects in central Quang Nam province. For more information, please visit