NGO builds 25 houses in flood-prone Mekong province

Non-governmental organization Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Vietnam has kicked off its Mekong Big Builds to build 25 houses for disadvantaged families in flood-prone areas of Tien Giang Province by the middle of next month.

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The Mekong Big Builds is hosted by HFH Vietnam and its local government partners with the participation of 200 volunteers from New Zealand, the US, Japan, China, the UK, Australia, Singapore and Vietnam. They will build up to 25 houses during the week of August 4-10, 2013.

The houses are estimated to cost around VND50 million (US$2,400) each. Habitat for Humanity Vietnam will finance VND40 million of the cost of each home while the local government partners and future homeowners together will contribute the remaining VND10 million.

The future homeowners will be building their own homes side-by-side the international volunteers who will live and work for a week amidst the quaint and sparsely populated Mekong Delta farming community.

The Mekong Big Builds is part of the regional Habitat for Humanity initiative and will take place again in Cambodia in November this year.

An opening ceremony to kick start the program was held in Tien Giang on July 1. Ms. Vo Thi Tuyet — the Secretary General of Tien Giang Union of Friendship Organizations — announced that pre-building preparations and budgets are completed and the families and volunteers are ready to start building.

Kelly Koch, Habitat for Humanity Vietnam’s Country Director extended a heartfelt thank you to the Habitat’s local and home partners.

“I would like to thank Habitat for Humanity Vietnam and its local government partners for supporting the building of decent homes for 25 families so that we can all settle down and live better lives,” said Huynh Nhi Ha, a 37-year-old single mother and future home owner.

Huynh Nhi Ha, who suffers from heart disease, lives with her 3 children in a 32-square-meter house made of untreated wood, corrugated metal walls and thatched roof. Out of her US$105 monthly income, she pays US$24 in rent and US$48 for her daughters’ school fees. The remaining money is spent on food, electricity and water, leaving barely enough to buy medicine for her heart disease.

Habitat for Humanity Vietnam began operations in 2001 in the central Da Nang City to provide low cost housing, water and sanitation solutions to marginalized households. HFH Vietnam has implemented projects in more than ten provinces across Vietnam to date.

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