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.

“Many in our community lost their jobs and livelihoods but we want to support our community and keep it healthy during the pandemic,” said Kim Claire Darugo, a Filipino volunteer. A member of Pasig 1 Community Youth Group, which is active in a neighborhood that Habitat helped build, she and her fellow volunteers are raising funds for hygiene kits to be donated to families in vulnerable situations 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.

“We see young people negatively impacted by Covid-19 especially in the areas of education, opportunities and social contacts. In these unprecedented times of economic and social distress, I am inspired by the resilience of these 70 young leaders who have responded to the challenge to support Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” said Luis Noda, Vice-President for Asia-Pacific, Habitat for Humanity International.

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.

For further information, please contact Ms. Angeli Alba-Pascual, AAlba@habitat.org, +63 920 956 3376, or Ms. Rona Azucena, RAzucena@habitat.org, +63 916 545 8310.

Register for the virtual conference on Aug 24, 11:30 a.m. SGT at https://bit.ly/YouthfromHome.

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