More than 600 youth volunteers ranging from famous celebrities, NGOs, corporations, schools, from both local and international communities joined together to support the community work in Prey Veng Village, Kom Reang district, Phnom for the success of Habitat Cambodia’s first ever Habitat Youth Build Program. Volunteers built the sewage system, fixed the road and planted trees for the Smile Village project on April 27, 2013.
HFH Cambodia received support from famous singer and endorser Ms. Aok SokunKanha who’s popularly regarded in Cambodia as the Star of Hope for the many social development support she extends to worthy causes such as the Habiat Youth Build. The returning Mr. Chhorn Sovannareach, another popular singer who supported the first Mekong Big Build in Cambodia said, “It is not my first time to join HFH Cambodia. I was once involved in a volunteer project in 2009, and it was a great experience. Over the years, I can now see a huge, positive change in Cambodian youth! They are now more socially active and they extend heartfelt help and contribution. The volunteers today are amazingly energetic and very eager to work. I am very excited for the next project that I will surely support.”
“This is such a touching project for me and for the rest of the volunteers in Cambodia, and I’m so proud to be a part to help my community, I’m also pleasantly surprised that many Cambodian youth have come together. This is my first time to get involved in a project where I am able to really interact with the families that we are helping and with my fellow volunteers, but I am certain it will not be my last. Sooner, this place will turn into a real community,” Ms. Aok Sokhunkanha said in a message that she shared amongst the volunteers during the opening where she also thoroughly talked about housing issues in Cambodia and the need to work together to help in any way possible to serve more families with adequate housing.
Except for a few, majority of the participants were first time builders. The heat and the workload did challenge many but everyone was motivated. There was an overwhelming amount of excitement and youthful spirit throughout the day. Breaks provided an avenue for everyone to enjoy each other’s company through great music and dancing. Volunteers and supporters also expressed their hopes for a better Cambodia and sealed their Commitments in serving their fellow Cambodians in the commitment wall.
Chout Kiriadarasy a student from Pannassastra University in Cambodia shared about his experience, “I am glad that I am a part of this event. It is my first time to get involved in a build and in a very important project for our community. I had fun while working and met a lot of new friends. I will definitely join once again for the next year and my friends and I are looking forward to launching small fundraising projects in order for us to join the Fundraising Challenge.”
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia launched the Fundraising Challenge to promote year-round continuation of the youth activities in Cambodia. The challenge encourages the youth parparticipants to launch fundraising efforts in order to raise windows, doors and various implements that will be contributed to the housing development for the Smile Village.
HFH Cambodia will continue to raise awareness on the need to say ‘NO’ to inadequate housing amongst and through the 2013 HYB participants. The Habitat Youth Build was the first building activity that was held in the 2-hectare village, which will house 290 low-income families living in and around the Stoeng Meachchey dumpsite to have a decent place to live. Smile Village Project is a partnership between Pour un Sourier l’Enfants and Habitat for Humanity Cambodia.
This is the second Habitat Youth Build in Asia with 8 different countries including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia engaging youth in various advocacy and building activities. The nearly 14,000 young volunteers built homes in seven Asian countries, signaling their commitment to tackling the poverty-housing situation in the region. The harmonized event set a record for Habitat for Humanity for its largest ever youth volunteer build event in Asia.