For the first time in Sri Lanka hundreds of volunteers from across the island and overseas participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Youth BUILD 2015.
This was one of the largest initiatives in Sri Lanka’s history, and not only assisted in the building of homes for internally displaced people in Trincomalee, but also served to bridge communities, build relationships and spread the spirit of volunteerism.
Habitat for Humanity Youth BUILD, now in its fourth year in the Asia-Pacific region, is the largest volunteer-driven movement in this area and draws support from young people in 15 countries and one Special Administrative Region. The campaign heightens awareness of the poverty housing situation in the Asia-Pacific region and inspires people to take action to tackle the growing problem. Each year, Habitat Youth BUILD raises the bar by inspiring more supporters to get involved in raising awareness, funds and support for Habitat’s cause in exciting ways.
Sri Lanka participated in this mammoth initiative for the first time this year. On Saturday 21st March, 600 young people volunteered their time to help build homes for 60 families in Muthur, Trincomalee. The volunteers were a diverse group of young people comprising young professionals from both the private and public sectors, students from universities and schools and international volunteers travelling to Sri Lanka especially for the build.
In addition to the volunteers, renowned actress and Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka’s Youth Ambassador, Pooja Umashanker was also on site.
Habitat Sri Lanka’s National Director, Dinesh Kanagaratnam was very excited about the turnout, “When I look back, I would say that it is a great achievement. We got 500 youth to get up very early in the morning and come to a common pick-up point, so that we could all travel to Trincomallee. We left Colombo at 4am – all 24 buses! The 70 international volunteers (50 from the New York University of Abu Dhabi and 20 from Nagoya International School - Japan) joined us at the site. It was wonderful to see both schools and corporate organizations work together for a good cause. We saw the element of team building really being put into practice and this is the beautiful aspect of Habitat for Humanity’s volunteer program. We urge you all to join the program and experience the difference it makes!”
The event was recognized by UN Global Compact (UNGC) as a monumental opportunity for corporate organizations to foster social responsibility and sustainability practices. A number of corporate organizations rallied behind the Habitat Youth Build, especially Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, who was the Platinum Sponsor. Other sponsors include Glitz (Gold Sponsor), Multilac (Silver Sponsor), Dipped Products PLC (Silver Sponsor) and TNL Radio and Rhythm FM (Radio Media Sponsors).
Visit www.hfhsl.org to learn more about Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka and become involved with future builds, either by volunteering or sponsoring homes.