Harnessing the power of youth in Asia Pacific and Vietnam

16:11 | 16/04/2019 Society

(VEN) - Thousands of youth across the Asia-Pacific region played a part and shared on social networks as Habitat for Humanity’s Young Leaders Build peaks on April 13.

In its eighth year, the region’s largest youth movement continues to rally young people through volunteer builds, advocacy events, and more in support of affordable housing. This is also the sixth time Vietnamese and international youth from other countries such as Japan, Korea, Australia and the U.S.A, etc. have responded to the call from the campaign and come to Vietnam to raise their voice and take action to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.

Youth groups and volunteers in Bangladesh, China, Korea, Indonesia and Nepal built homes alongside families and communities this weekend. Throughout the month of April and May, supporters will fly the Habitat Young Leaders Build flag high through other builds and fundraising activities in Cambodia, India, Fiji, Japan, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Rick Hathaway, Vice President for Asia-Pacific, Habitat for Humanity International says, “The power of youth is pivotal in building homes and communities in a diverse region like Asia-Pacific. As a result of their dynamism and creativity, we have heard amazing stories of transformed lives. Thanks to the youth — our leaders of today and the future — Habitat is energized and inspired to continue building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.”

In Vietnam, to respond to the call from the youth movement, more than 250 volunteers from Vietnam’s international schools and overseas institutions have been partnering with Habitat to build 14 homes for low-income families, raise awareness about water, sanitation and hygiene, and know more about Habitat’s work through the Young Leaders Academy. Youth participation in 2019 will continue till this September.

It is estimated that around 4,8 million households, which is equivalent to 19 million people, lack decent housing and have to live in substandard conditions. Thus, Vietnamese youth engagement aims to help them be aware of the negative impacts of housing issues on the society and draw public attention by raising their voices and taking actions to help low-income families to have a decent house to live. “Having shelter contributes a lot to child development. The home improves a child’s quality of life in the future. With decent shelter, a child is protected and less exposed to dangers,” said Yu Jin (grade 9), a Habitat volunteer from Canada International School in Vietnam. Long, grade 12 from the American School, also shared: “It is the opportunity for me to get outside the school and get to know our team better through supporting people by building a house. Secondly, when we got to meet the family, constructing the house alongside them is like a huge bonding way to understand the family better, in a way I am able to step in their shoes, view their perspective of life and see more clearly their impoverished conditions. I can learn something from them and develop myself to grow more to be a better person”.

These initiatives and other youth engagement projects in Vietnam and other Asia-Pacific countries supported under the Habitat Young Leaders Build have the potential to reach about 100,000 people.

Since 2012, 12.5 million Habitat Young Leaders Build supporters have raised US$7.5 million to help more than 29,000 families to achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. While the 2019 campaign peaks in April, the momentum will continue with a Youth Congress in Thailand in September. The special initiative is part of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum, a multi-sector conference organized by Habitat for Humanity.

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity International began in 1976 as a

grassroots effort. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in

more than 70 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported 8.3 million people

to build or improve a place they can call home.

Habitat for Humanity Vietnam (HFHV), a branch office of Habitat for Humanity International, began operations in 2001

in Da Nang in the central coastal region of the country. Habitat Vietnam works with low-income families in new house

construction, home repairs, improving their access to clean water and safe sanitation, and technical assistance. As of

December 2018, Habitat Vietnam has supported more than 15,000 low-income families to access housing support

services. In addition, HFHV has trained over 130,000 individuals in financial education, disaster preparedness, and

hygiene practices.

My Phung