Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Build breaks record with over 1.7 million supporters

Asian celebrities rally young people across Asia-Pacific to volunteer, raise funds and speak out for decent housing as a way out of poverty

Young people in 16 countries and 1 SAR joined to build homes and advocate on substandard housing issues

Manila (12 August 2016) – Smashing the previous record for participants, more than 1,700,000 supporters in 16 countries and one Special Administrative Region took part in the annual Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build in the Asia-Pacific region. Announcing this achievement on International Youth Day, Habitat’s popular youth-driven campaign that focuses on tackling the challenges of poverty housing has taken place for the fifth consecutive year.

Youth participate in Hong Kong

“Habitat Young Leaders Build has grown year after year, and we are very pleased to have surpassed one million supporters for the first time,” said Rick Hathaway, Habitat for Humanity vice president for Asia-Pacific. “Youth can be a driving force for change, and they have brought positive change to thousands of families this year through improved shelter. These young people are illuminating the urgent need for adequate housing to build a better future for us all.”

During the campaign, volunteers worked on 420 houses and served a total of 7,620 families. Fundraising activities brought in US1.6 million to support housing initiatives in the region.

Many new activities took place this year. These included a marathon in Japan, organized by volunteers in Tokyo. In Nepal, a flash mob of hundreds of youth gathered in Kathmandu to advocate for affordable and disaster-resilient housing. In Thailand, volunteers repaired homes for people with disabilities. In the Philippines, Boy Scouts from several countries traveled to Bantayan Island to build houses for survivors of the Typhoon Haiyan disaster.

In a first for the campaign, young people submitted proposals to raise awareness on the need for decent and affordable housing. With seed funding from Habitat 26 youth-led initiatives in nine countries reached over 35,000 people by advocating for housing at local levels, undertaking local research, disseminating information on poverty housing and presenting petitions to influence decision makers to consider housing subsidies.

Celebrities and corporate participants also took part in the campaign, through volunteering, fundraising and advocating for decent homes as a way out of poverty. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. became the campaign’s first platinum sponsor this year.

Other activities across the region included home construction, school cleaning, hygiene instruction, awareness raising and fundraising. These activities took place in 16 countries and one Special Administrative Region since the campaign began last December, including Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Since the first campaign in 2012 with 5,000 participants from five countries, Young Leaders Build, formerly known as Youth Build, has gained great momentum. During these past five years, the movement has grown to mobilize a total of 3,306,000 volunteers and participants in 16 countries and one Special Administrative Region. More than 23,000 families have been served during that time, and the campaign raised more than US 4.2 million for Habitat’s housing initiatives.

There is an urgent need for shelter that is safe and affordable across the Asia-Pacific region. The United Nations estimates that more than 500 million people in the Asia-Pacific live in slums, representing more than half of the world’s slum dwellers, and that globally 1.6 billion people live without adequate shelter.

For more information on Habitat Young Leaders Build online - . View the 2016 wrap-up video (3 minutes) – . Join the Habitat Young Leaders Build community on Facebook . Post with the hashtag #HabitatYLB. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram .