Elton John Foundation Funds Housing for 320 Families

While raising five children in a one-bedroom shack in a Boeng Kak I slum, Ly Nat never thought of owning a proper home.

So in June 2009, when she moved into a brick house built by Habitat for Humanity Cambodia, the new digs were a dream come true.

“I was surprised and overjoyed,” she said yesterday during a Habitat for Humanity news conference.

“Now, life is much easier, my family and I are in good health,” she added.

Habitat for Humanity Cambodia, along with four other organizations, hopes to stoke such feelings in at least 320 other families across Phnom Penh and Prey Veng province’s Peam Ro commune in the next two years.

Habitat for Humanity representatives from Cambodia and Great Britain announced yesterday that a $1.22-million program, mainly funded by the UK-based Elton John AIDS Foundation, is being initiated to build and repair homes for at least 320 families with orphans and vulnerable children or HIV/AIDS patients.

Habitat for Humanity has built nearly 1,000 homes in Cambodia since 2004, but this is the first project geared toward at-risk children and people with HIV/AIDS, representatives said.

After two years, Habitat for Humanity hopes the program–Enhancing HIV/AIDS Programs with Holistic Housing Solutions–produces research that connects better living conditions with improved health and wellbeing of HIV/AIDS patients and vulnerable children.

Habitat for Humanity Cambodia partnered with Habitat for Humanity Great Britain to secure funding from Elton John’s group. The program also involves Save the Children Australia and the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE.

Bernadette Bolo-Duthy, country director for Habitat of Humanity Cambodia, said the four groups her organization is working with would select the families destined to receive assistance. Construction in Phnom Penh is planned in the Sen Sok district and on existing plots of land.

The first home will be built as early as next month, Ms Bolo-Duthy said. Building should be complete by March or April 2012. Habitat for Humanity Cambodia is working to both purchase land and secure land titles for the future residents, Ms Bolo-Dunthy added.


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