Celebrating World Habitat Day in the Asia-Pacific region

MANILA (October 6, 2016) ─ On World Habitat Day, Oct. 3, Habitat for Humanity joined the United Nations and other organizations around the world in making a clear call for the global need for adequate housing and mobilizing individuals and communities to take action.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Habitat for Humanity entities marked the global day with activities ranging from the launch of a roadmap for the development of the Northeast region in India to an executive briefing in Hong Kong to a mass volunteer build in Vietnam.

Habitat for Humanity’s CEO Jonathan Reckford is in India for #HabitatWeek, or weeklong activities to mark World Habitat Day. During his Oct. 3 address to government leaders and representatives from the corporate and non-profit sectors in New Delhi, Reckford highlighted the success of Habitat India in enabling more than 750,000 people to have decent housing since 1983. He said: “But there is so much more to do. The Government of India’s vision of Housing for All by 2022 entails the development of 20 million housing units… I am asking you to reach deep into your networks and your spheres of influence to become the hearts, hands and voices of affordable housing and sanitation.”

While in New Delhi, Reckford also attended a multi-stakeholder consultation where he called on everyone to play a role in ensuring the success of the Sustainable Development Goals. Later this month, Oct.17-20, Reckford will be among Habitat representatives traveling to Quito, Ecuador. They will join delegates from 193 countries at Habitat III, a U.N. Conference that will set policies for urban development around the world for the next 20 years, known as the . Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity welcomes the U.N. member states’ adoption of the New Urban Agenda and supports its emphasis on three areas: adequate and affordable housing, secure land tenure and community-led development. Learn more http://altenheime-hamburg.info/archive/2016/10-3-Habitat-for-Humanity-commitments-to-reduce-poverty-and-foster-more-sustainable-cities

Elsewhere in the region, Habitat shows its commitment to decent shelter when more than 200 international volunteers marked World Habitat Day on the first day of the Vietnam Big Build in Phu Tho province in the north. By the end of the build on Oct. 7, they will have worked with 20 families to build adequate housing with proper sanitation. Check out Habitat Vietnam’s Facebook page for updates.  

In place of physical labor, Habitat supporters in Hong Kong took part in the first of a series of Executive Briefings. More than 100 people were gathered at the Baker McKenzie office in the Central area to discuss the issues of urban poverty and urban slums as well as housing in Hong Kong. The outcome of the discussion from the first Executive Briefing and subsequent sessions will be summarized in a declaration that will be presented at the 6th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum organized by Habitat for Humanity in 2017. Read more

To mark World Habitat Day, Habitat Australia posted a  reminding us that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. Meanwhile, Habitat staff in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka chose to contribute their labor. On Oct. 3, staff from Habitat Bangladesh’s Dhaka office traveled to Ishan Nagar village, near Savar city, to work on two homes alongside local community members. The following day, on Oct. 4, 15 staff members of Habitat Sri Lanka mixed cement for the flooring of one house in the Jaela community, less than an hour’s drive from the capital of Colombo. Another staff home construction event is being planned in the near future for the village of Weweldeniya.

Other Habitat country programs in the region are celebrating World Habitat Day at a later date. On Oct. 8, Habitat Philippines will be organizing prayer events and focus group discussions on housing issues for home owners in nine communities in Metro Manila. Over in Cambodia, Habitat will mobilize about 50 to 60 local volunteers to paint six houses, plant trees and join residents of the Ang Snoul community in Kandal province for a neighborhood cleanup. Habitat Cambodia is also continuing their road show to schools to raise awareness of housing issues and land tenure.

About 60 Thai students responded to the call for action when they joined Habitat Thailand’s staff in building a greenhouse in Ayutthaya province. They also planted seedlings which will see produce being harvested for lunch for students of the Wat Mai Tan Tarn School.