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Monday, November 16, 2009

Carters help build Thai homes

Mr Carter and his wife, Rosalynn (both centre), are among 3,000 volunteers from 25 countries working with Habitat for Humanity this week to help build and repair homes along the Mekong River in Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia and Laos. -- PHOTO: AP


CHIANG MAI (Thailand) - FORMER US President Jimmy Carter helped the housing charity that he champions, Habitat for Humanity, launch a campaign Monday to build homes for 50,000 families in the Mekong River region over the next five years.

Mr Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are among 3,000 volunteers from 25 countries working with Habitat for Humanity this week to help build and repair homes along the Mekong River in Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia and Laos.

The homes in Cambodia are being built for families currently living in a garbage dump, the ones in Vietnam are for fishermen who now live on their boats, and the project in China involves construction of an apartment building in a part of Sichuan province devastated by a 2008 earthquake.

'In an area of the world where many people live in deplorable conditions, we have a chance to help families improve their housing,' said Mr Carter, wearing sneakers, jeans and a work shirt. He and his wife spent Monday helping build homes in northern Thailand's Chiang Mai province, where 82 will be constructed in honour of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who celebrates his 82nd birthday next month.

Habitat for Humanity's Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Reckford said the Georgia-based non-profit group decided to scale up its activities in the Mekong region over the next five years because the needs were so great.

'This is an area that gets less attention than some other parts of the world,' Reckford said. 'But if you look at income levels, there are huge numbers of families living at terribly low levels at a dollar a day. There is a huge deficit of decent housing, so it starts with the need.' -- AP

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