Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On February 26th, Habitat for Humanity Nepal had its first meeting for Habitat Youth Build (HYB) with new and existing ambassadors. HYB is a Habitat for Humanity International initiative dedicated to partnering with youth to create change. This will be the fourth year that HYB has taken place. This year, Habitat for Humanity (HfH) Nepal aims to serve 15,000 families across Asia during HYB, raise over U.S. $ 500,000, and mobilize more than one million volunteers.

Youth ambassadors along with supporting ambassadors and HfH staffs pose for a picture
Aruna Simittrarachchi, the former Country Director of Habitat for Humanity Nepal, introduced Habitat for Humanity’s work in Nepal, and talked about the organization’s future goals. HfH Nepal has helped over 58,000 families since it started working in 1997. The organization has nearly 800 partners, and works in 40 districts. HfH Nepal aims to help 100,000 people and work in 62 districts by 2015. HfH Nepal has won a number of awards for its work, the most recent being the first category prize in AGFUND 2014.

Lala Baldelovar, the Resource Development Manager for Habitat for Humanity Nepal, introduced HYB to the youth ambassadors. She explained that over the past three years, HYB has served around three thousand families around Asia. In 2013, there were approximately 800,000 participants from eleven different countries. This year, fifteen different Asian chapters will take part in HYB. They are: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and South Korea. The countries support the program in different ways. For example, last year Japan raised funds for the program, Bangladesh build houses, and Nepal and the Philippines campaigned for better housing. This year, Japan and South Korea are sending 400 and 300 volunteers respectively on Global Village teams to different countries, including Nepal, as part of HYB.

Sushma Shrestha, Habitat for Humanity Nepal’s Program Development Manager, shared HFHN’s plan for HYB. In Nepal, youths will assemble to demand stronger commitments to build one million houses by 2016. This year, HfH Nepal aims to build 5,000 houses in 40 districts by mobilizing 500,000 volunteers as part of HYB.
The meeting ended with a discussion where the ambassadors agreed they would support Habitat Youth Build. “Habitat for Humanity teaches us to respect what we have,” said Nirnaya Shrestha, one of the youth ambassadors and a performing artist, in reference to the importance of the project.  The youth leaders were enthusiastic about the Youth Build, and suggested a number of ideas to make the event even more effective. Prem Baniya, a TV journalist, proposed a media campaign, and emphasized the importance of media partners. He also discussed the benefits of engaging schools and universities. All of the Youth Ambassadors will take part in HYB and travel to different parts of the country to influence and mobilize youths. 

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