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Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh kicks off inaugural large-scale volunteer 'Friendship Build' event

Source: Habitat for Humanity International - Mon, 3 Dec 2012 05:45 GMT
Author: Heron Holloway
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Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh kicks off inaugural large-scale volunteer ‘Friendship Build’ event

Ten homes to be built for low-income families in Srimangal, Sylhet

Bangkok, 3 December: From today, around 70 international volunteers will be working alongside low-income families in Sylhet to help build ten homes as part of ‘Friendship Build’, Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh’s first large-scale volunteer building event.

Over the week-long event, members of Doluchara village in Srimangal, Moulvibazar upazila, will join forces with volunteers from the United States, New Zealand, Australia and China to complete ten brick houses, part of a major community development project that also includes tube wells, roads, rain water catchment and draining systems.

Narendrea Debbarma, 42, is a Doluchara resident and his sole income supports a four-person household. “Both my son and daughter go to school but there is no place for them to continue studying when they get home, as our one room house is also used for living, cooking, eating and sleeping. My nine-year-old daughter always has a cold and I know this is because we live in a mud house that doesn’t keep out the wind, said Debbarma.

Doluchara village is home to members of the Tripura community, a small minority group within Bangladesh, and many residents live in dilapidated mud homes that are health and security hazards.

John Armstrong, Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh national director, said: “Many of the mud houses lived in by Doluchara families do not keep out the cold in winter or rain during the monsoon season. There have been instances where house walls have collapsed, killing those inside. The houses completed during Friendship Build will be simple, safe homes, built of brick.”

Friendship Build is Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh’s first large-scale volunteer building event in the country, and follows on the success of similar events in Sri Lanka and Nepal earlier this year.

“A decent home can help transform lives. It opens the doors to improved health, better performance in school for children, greater economic opportunities and increased community spirit. These volunteers will play a part in transforming lives,” continued Armstrong.

The Friendship Build started with a welcome dinner on Sunday 2 December, and involves five days of construction, before finished homes are handed over to Doluchara families on Friday 7 December.

It is estimated that 80 percent of Bangladesh’s population live in inadequate shelter. Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh is currently celebrating the milestone of having helped 3,000 families since it started in 1999, and is now planning to support a further 4,000 families by 2014. This Friendship Build will play an important part in helping to achieve this goal.

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