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MANILA, Philippines -- Fairy Malong, 24, took up Civil Engineering specifically to work for Habitat for Humanity. Why? Because 12 years ago, Habitat gave her a new home, a new hope.
In 2000, when Malong was 12, her family received a home from the Habitat Global Build in Quezon City. Up to this day, Fairy, her parents and four siblings live in that home. And now, Habitat for Humanity Project Engineer Fairy Malong works to pay it forward.
“Syempre. Nabigyan ka ng pag-asa. Kasi yung parents ko, ang meron lang sila, yung bahay Yun lang yung property naming yung bahay na yun. Ang gusto lang nila, makatapos kami ng pag-aaral. (Of course. We were given hope. Because my parents, all they have is the house. That's all the property we have. All they want is that we finish schooling)," she said.
The Habitat experience built her character, she says. “Pag nakita mo yung tao na nagbibigay,tinutulungan ka ,ang tendency mo din e tumulong sa iba. So nakatulong siya sa akin na mabuild yung character ko (When you see people giving, helping you, your tendency is to help others. So it really helped build my character)." She recalls that when she was younger, around 11 years old, when she saw their home being built, she would meet and speak with the volunteers -- some Filipinos, some foreigners -- who would come to build their homes and sometimes live with them in the process of immersion. She would just take peeks, wondering what they’re doing. “But when you see people giving to you, helping you even if they don’t know you, you grow up to be giving and helpful too.”
That’s why she studied hard and worked for Habitat. Now the Habitat home, is home to an engineer and three college students whom Fairy is helping her father send to school. “Our house is still simple, with no paint or finishings, just like it was in 2000, because we are prioritizing putting my siblings to finish school,” Fairy says of herself and her father, Francisco, a tricycle driver.
Fairy recalled how hard it was to even think of school 12 years ago. “If you live in a depressed area, you will be depressed. It will be your only wish to have a home. Mahirap yung wala kang sariling bahay yung anytime pwede kang paalisin. Tapos wala kang sariling CR, wala kang sariling lahat...lahat hati, may kahati ka. Wala ka yung sa sarili mo lang. (It's difficult if you don't have a home of your own, you can be kicked out any time. If you don't have your own CR, you don't have anything, you have to share. You don't have anything but yourself)."
What a difference 12 years makes for families like Francisco’s who received Habitat homes and now have an Engineer, Accountant and IT specialist as kids. Now, a new generation of kids and students have the opportunity to give hope and homes to a new generation of Fairys through the upcoming Youth Build 2012 in Navotas and Cagayan de Oro.
On Saturday, May 12, 2012, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Philippines, 2,000 student volunteers will converge to build homes for 200 more families who lost their homes when typhoons Pedring and Sendong hit Navotas and Cagayan de Oro. These families have lived in tents and evacuation centers for months and years, and Habitat wants to help.
Called the Habitat Youth Build 2012, the unprecedented action is actually Asia Pacific-wide with simultaneous builds happening in Thailand, India, Indonesia, China and the Philippines led involving 5,000 youth members in helping 500 families.
In the Philippines, the Youth Build will be led Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Habitat Capital Campaign Chairman, the Habitat Youth Council led by its Chair and Founder Alexandra ‘Alex’ Eduque, and "Generation Now" -- students from all schools and walks of life who care to make a difference in building homes and transforming lives.
Celebrities supporting the campaign include: World Boxing Champion and Congressman Manny Pacquiao, Chinese actor Jet Li, Hong Kong actor and singer-songwriter Karen Mok, Bollywood actress Aditi Rao Hydari, Filipino actor Matteo Guidicelli, Hong Kong actor Michael Wong, Indian American actor Omi Vaidya, Hong Kong entrepreneur Christie Wo, and upcoming Thai singer Looksorn Bhandhukravi.
The Filipino youth are invited to join the Habitat Youth Council and Generation Now build our cities, build our Philippines starting with the Habitat Youth Build on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Those who will not be on site to physically build the houses can be virtual volunteers by spreading the word about the Youth Build online.
For more information or to sign up, please visit www.habitatyouthbuild.org/philippines or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +632 846-2177. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/habitatphilippines and Twitter at @habitatphils #HabitatYouthBuild.