Hope Springs

Hope indeed springs.

We, and eighty-eight others saw transformed lives, after long years of waiting, through the North Build in Battambang City, Battambang province in April.

Many families waited years and years just to feel their strong sense of hope turn into reality, and out of the 245 families, 4 of them – Prak Ya, Won Yann, Chen Yom and Ley Sina – were extra fortunate to share their new found security and peace on a fiveday special build with volunteers from New Zealand, China and Canada. The team also built one community center in O’kcheay Community and another in Chamkar Russey Community was further improved.

The five days was packed. It began with an opening dinner where members from the Battambang government such as H. E. Uy Ry, Battambang Deputy Provincial Governor, H.E Seing Suthang, Advisor of H.E Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Former BTB Deputy Provincial Governor of Battambang and Provincial/Municipal Land Use and Allocation Committee chief, Mr. Sieng Em Wounzy, Deputy Governor of Battambang Municipality and Chief Maritime Transport Working Group, other partners in government and NGOs came to give our volunteers a warm welcome.

Before everyone started building on the first day, volunteers were formally introduced to the home partners, skilled workers and the community people in a brief but meaningful opening ceremony. The rest of the week brought different people from different walks of life together. Many made new friends; some rekindled their friendships and everyone made new memorable stories that they were excited to share with their loved ones back home.

Amidst the humidity and heat, one thing that kept the volunteers going throughout the week is the thought that they were contributing to the fulfillment of 2 communities’ dream of having a decent place for their gatherings and 4 families’ dreams of owning a secure land and safe, decent shelter.

The presence of the 80 volunteers also helped Habitat for Humanity Cambodia to gain the full approval and official endorsement of the Battambang Government to manage the development of 41 more SLC plots, which will serve 82 more families in need of secure land and decent shelter. This was celebrated during the North Build with an inauguration of the 41 plots where representatives from the teams joined the Battambang Deputy Provincial Governor H. E. Uy Ry in cutting the inaugural ribbon right after the house dedications and closing program. So yes, hope indeed springs.

“Your presence here is also a celebration of our bigger hope – that from this single project’s success of delivering secure land tenure, more and more families would come to enjoy their rights for secure living,” said HFH Cambodia’s Country Director Bernadette Bolo-Duthy in her Welcome Remarks during the opening night.

The contribution of the volunteers made the families’ celebration of years of hope even more meaningful for them, and as the week grew, each volunteer found a new and stronger appreciation of HOPE.

Following the start of the Battambang government’s distribution of land tenure certificates in December 2012 through the Social Land Concession project on Strengthening Civil Society-Government Partnership for the Delivery of Secure Land Tenure, HFH Cambodia’s Battambang site began to open Battambang to volunteer builds in January 2013 which further led to this first ever Special Build purely intended to contribute to the expansion of the project.

North Build was a collaboration between Habitat for Humanity New Zealand and Habitat for Humanity Cambodia.