UN youth envoy to open volunteer conference supporting Habitat for Humanity’s COVID-19 response

Habitat Young Leaders Build celebrates 10 years and 17 million supporters

HO CHI MINH CITY (April 23, 2021) – The United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy for Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, will deliver the opening remarks during the “Youth from Home for Homes” virtual conference, the peak of the 2021 Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build campaign. Over a hundred youth from the Asia-Pacific region have registered for the event, which also marks a decade of youth volunteerism for the cause of safe, affordable housing.

“Young people are the backbone of society, and our only hope in creating a better world and a better future for all. But youth cannot do it alone. It is pivotal that young people be included as full-fledged partners in all decision and policy-making that affects their lives and futures, including SDG 11, target 1 on access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services,” said Wickramanayake.

Joining the UN youth envoy for the conference on April 24 are young leaders who will present highlights from their community-based projects in support of Habitat’s work during the pandemic. These include raising funds to build core houses in Sri Lanka and advocating for affordable housing among local government officials in the Philippines.

Almost seventy volunteers from ten countries have started to implement multi-month projects under the Young Leaders Build campaign. The volunteers comprise of university students, young professionals and youth with vocations.

“Young volunteers in Vietnam continue to step up to show leadership on COVID-19 response. From combatting the lack of knowledge towards COVID-19 prevention to ensuring undisrupted learning for the most vulnerable children during lockdowns – their work have been creating positive change. This year, we are pleased to facilitate Habitat Young Leaders Build as a platform to connect youth volunteers and empower them to drive the whole process – from identifying local needs to propose and deliver practical solutions. As young people transition into adulthood, platforms like these will help them engage, improve skills, and prepare for a meaningful future. This also manifests Habitat Vietnam’s attempt to uphold youth volunteerism in our efforts to address housing poverty,” said Bells Borja, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Vietnam.

Other volunteer-led projects include providing cash and in-kind assistance for families in need to repair or build safe, healthy homes and the construction of community facilities such as handwash stations, solar lighting and urban gardens. Volunteers also plan to train other youth and their families on ways to protect their household from the coronavirus, promote mental health, and facilitate learning from home.

Since 2012, more than 17 million Habitat Young Leaders Build supporters have raised almost US$9 million to help more than 33,000 families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. While the 2021 campaign peaks in April, the momentum will continue as youth groups and volunteers will continue their projects until 2022.

About Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build

Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build brings together youth from across the Asia Pacific region to support people and families in need of decent housing. Every young person volunteering, fundraising, raising awareness and adding their voices in support of affordable housing can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. The movement encourages youth to take the lead and motivate their peers to create societal changes by building homes and communities, on a Habitat build site and/or online through their social networks.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity 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 millions of people to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/ap.

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