Habitat for Humanity is well known for the tangible, “hands-on” construction experience tens of thousands of volunteers experience every year from around the world. The “muscle” volunteers provide means homes can be built at considerably lower costs. More importantly, the experience transforms lives: both for the volunteers who work alongside Habitat homeowners and for partner families who see that there are “outsiders” who care enough to help them break the cycle of poverty. Build teams may come from within the country or from overseas. Business corporations, churches, schools and colleges, civic groups and other organizations organize and send teams. Some teams are open to anyone who wishes to join. Volunteers are also invited to work in Habitat offices as interns. Individuals also serve in leadership roles such as being members of the Habitat board.
In Bangladesh, more and more local and international teams are journeying to the beautiful rural communities to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh. The experience is always rewarding and it provides volunteers with the opportunity to spend time with local families who are directly benefiting from Habitat’s work.
HFH Bangladesh organizes community youth groups in several areas where it operates. These young volunteers normally aged between 18 and 25, support local HRC offices, organizing events, hosting local and international volunteer build teams, resource development, marketing, and advocacy. They also participate in volunteer house building events in their local areas alongside local and international volunteer teams.
Habitat also engages students from local high schools and colleges, some of which form formal Habitat Campus Chapters. For example, the American International School Dhaka, one of HFH Bangladesh’s most dedicated supporters, operates a chapter which raises funds and participates in volunteer house building projects. Volunteers from local and international business corporations and embassies work on builds and make other contributions to Habitat’s work in Bangladesh. As HFH Bangladesh aims to expand its operations to help serve more under-privileged families, the support of locally-based donors and partners becomes increasingly valuable. Habitat continuously focuses on establishing new relationships and strengthening existing relationships with supporters to ensure the work of Habitat can be sustained and successfully achieved in Bangladesh.
International “Global Village” volunteers
HFH Bangladesh’s Global Village program offers a rewarding experience to international volunteers. A Global Village visit involves building on a Habitat site for several days as well as humanitarian activities, cultural learning, adventure and social interaction. The result is often described by volunteers as “life-changing”. HFH Bangladesh hosts teams from every corner of the world, from the USA, the UK, New Zealand, China, Japan, Korea to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Teams usually have 10-24 volunteers and come to Bangladesh for 10–14 days. In addition to contributing their volunteer labor, volunteers make financial contributions toward the construction of the homes they work on.
Typical tasks that volunteers do on a Habitat construction sites include carrying sand and bricks, making mortar, laying bricks, leveling sand floors and breaking bricks. Homeowner families often work alongside volunteers, allowing opportunities for cultural exchange and mutual learning between individuals who are often from very different worlds