Building a Future

ISB's Habitat for Humanity Club Makes a Profound Difference for Many Thais Who Need It

December 17, 2019

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976. The organization has allowed families, volunteers, donors and supporters to come together with the common goal of building decent homes around Asia-Pacific. Such homes provide a foundation for improving the quality of life for those who struggle to earn a living, making less than even US$1.90 a day. 

Through the establishment of people-public-private partnerships, Habitat for Humanity has facilitated access to adequate and affordable housing and the development of more inclusive housing markets. The need for adequate housing solutions in Asia-Pacific is immense, amid rapid urbanization, the United Nations estimates that over 100 million remain homeless, globally.

In order to tackle this issue of great urgency, the Habitat for Humanity service club was established at ISB to provide students with the opportunity of adopting a comprehensive and collaborative approach to address the complex challenges of urban development. Upon joining the Habitat for Humanity club at ISB, students have the opportunity to participate in “build trips”, through which they directly witness the life altering results garnered through their service efforts. Mr. Werner, English teacher at ISB mentions, “service is an easy thing to let fall by the wayside. It’s always rewarding for students to create space for service in their lives so that become conditioned to not just become smart academic scholars, but also contributing citizens to society.” 

Choosing to engage with the efforts of this service club, offers the opportunity for students to make a profound impact by experiencing the grueling task and physical labor put into constructing an entity as simple as a house, but it also allows students to make profound impacts on the lives of others. 

Mr. Cohen, sponsor for the Habitat for Humanity service club at ISB shares, “Habitat is special in many ways.  First and foremost, the club provides opportunities for students to get outside and work hand in hand with the local community to construct homes for people in need.  Moreover, students must understand and contribute to the fundraising process. Lastly, through our “House That ISB Built” project, Habitat fosters collaboration between students, teachers, administrators, and the ISB parent community.  Together, we are able to assist those in need.”

Habitat for Humanity’s Young Leaders Build campaign rallies youths from across the Asia-Pacific region to take the lead and motivate their peers to build homes and communities, on a Habitat build site! Mimi Tanglertsampan (12) remarks,  “

Habitat for Humanity builds gives us students the opportunity to engage with the local Thai community and improve the quality of life of others around us. At the end of the day, we get to see the finished product of the build and how much we are capable of doing to positively impact others.”

— Mimi Tanglertsampan

 Habitat makes affordable housing available to families in need of decent homes by working with microfinance institutions, furthermore providing families with options for affordable loans. By partnering with foundations, organizations and institutions, they catalyze multi-year, multi-component community and sector building projects for greater impact.

Mr. Werner shares, “the secret to success for habitat is the help we provide is so concrete  (no pun intended), we are there in the village, working next to villagers, passing bricks, digging drains, making walls, together. And you can directly see the contribution and see a house get built.” 

Students wishing to join this organization can easily do so. Mr. Cohen mentions, “our friendly and dedicated officers are eager to accept new members and get them involved in our projects.  Building homes is tough work, and we are always looking for dedicated students who aren’t afraid to mix with the local community and get their hands dirty.” Students can also choose to partake in the Habitat for Humanity builds offered on Global Citizenship Week (GCW) where they can choose to either build locally in Thailand or travel to Chiangmai. 

Nothing counters the feeling of completing a build and experiencing, first hand, the joyous celebration of service shared once a completed house is presented to the owner. 

Personally, I believe that students should definitely prioritize clearing their schedules in order to engage in some act of service, whether that be through the rewarding Habitat builds, or through other service clubs which in some way impact the country we are so fortunate enough to live in. Taking advantage of the numerous service opportunities present at ISB is not only a rewarding experience, but also has profound impacts on our community, as well as the students who offer their time to something so meaningful.

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