THE DREAM OF A PERMANENT HOME
Some families participating in the Family Savings Programme are able to eventually earn and save enough money to build a sturdy house. For very poor families who can’t save enough, Tabitha coordinates volunteer building teams to supply the additional money and work under the direction of Khmer builders to construct simple houses.
Elders and Tabitha staff select the neediest families from within the community who are to receive a house. Each family will contribute its savings (usually $25) from the Family Savings Programme — this buys a small piece of land and some of the materials. While it seems little to us, it is a huge effort for them.
This programme is about so much more than bricks and mortar. The impact is a shared experience of growth and understanding between cultures. Long lasting friendships have been formed with this work, and volunteers will leave Cambodia with a real sense of achievement by helping Cambodian families become role models for others.
SO MUCH MORE THAN SIMPLY SENDING MONEY
Some of the ongoing benefits to be gained by volunteers going on house-building trips are:
During the Pol Pot era, Khmer people were made to feel they were of no value –some Khmers still feel they are worthless. When volunteers come from overseas it helps them to start believing in their own value.
Builders can combine fundraising with a hands-on building project. This gives a sense of how their funds are directly targeted to those in need.
Participants return home inspired by their experience of actively making a difference in another family’s life and continue to participate in further Tabitha activities and fundraising.
THE OBJECTIVES OF
VOLUNTEER HOUSE BUILDING
To provide an in-depth and meaningful experience for foreigners visiting Cambodia
Team members will experience not only the tourist attractions but will begin to understand Cambodians – both the poorest and the middle class.
To educate volunteers about poverty
and the issues involved
The experience is an education in the causes of poverty, the results of poverty and the solutions to poverty.
To give Cambodians an opportunity to teach foreigners
Villagers develop a deep sense of pride by teaching foreign visitors the skills of house building.
To become partners with Tabitha Cambodia in our outreach
Team members, upon returning home, can become volunteer sales people as well as fund raisers for various projects.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Participate in a house build for a life changing experience.
Volunteers independently form their own groups of 6 or more people–often from within schools, companies, groups of friends, families, churches and volunteer organisations. Each team then raises £1,300 per house, which covers the cost of all building materials, a donation for the local community to participate in the Family Savings Programme, and the cost of a family well. Tabitha prepares the cement posts and the frame, and the teams finish the house under the supervision of local Tabitha staff. Most teams can build four to six houses per day. Over the years, teams have organised creative fundraisers such as bike rides, concerts, craft sales and talent shows to raise the necessary monies for their houses.
A typical house-building trip will begin with an insightful orientation session at the Tabitha office in Phnom Penh and includes an opportunity to visit some of Cambodia’s sites of interest. The following day, the team will then travel to a project site to carry out the work.