This Commitment focuses on the rehabilitation of victims from the disastrous earthquakes in Sichuan, China in May 2008 through the establishment of sustainable villages. In addition to working with communities to provide proper shelter, HFH China will enhance disaster response capabilities by offering access to schools and medical clinics in Sichuan, China.
Based on a United Nations' Global Report on Human Settlement, more than 10 million people worldwide die each year from conditions related to sub-standard housing, poor water and sanitation. Habitat for Humanity plans to build households with access to adequate potable water sources and sanitation facilities. The affordability of Habitat housing allows families to cover other life costs such as enrolling their children in school. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stated in the report that 'Household wealth is always strongly related to school attendance, with children from the poorest households more likely to be out of school than the rest of the population. This underlines the importance of poverty reduction.' With the same vision in mind, Habitat for Humanity plans to facilitate community transformation through the offering of safe and affordable homes, thereby increasing the liklihood for children's school attendance. Habitat for Humanity measures its success not only by the number of houses built, but also by improvements in the lives of the families it serves, including the education and health of family members.
Habitat for Humanity China's previous work in Sichuan has been focused on rebuilding homes for individuals who were affected by the earthquake. This is the first time HFH China is overseeing the development of a holistic, self-sustaining village.
HFH will be partnering with different tiers of the local government to implement this project. One location of its project will support a housing design that incorporates long-term development and income generation through tourism. The houses will be built with an earthquake resistant wood-frame design that professors from Sichuan University's College of Architecture and Environment have developed for Taizi Village in cooperation with the Xiaoyudong Township Government. The goal is to offer other disaster affected villages use of the same design. This should be achievable for the following reasons:
1) The cost of construction is cheaper than the standard brick and cement slab structures.
2) Wood frame housing was found to be much safer in the earthquake and can be built even more earthquake resistant.
3) By creating an aesthetically pleasing design for the entire village, it should become a good model for attracting tourism.
This project location will serve as a model for other villages to consider, and in this way the project will be sustainable even after completed.
Habitat for Humanity China's Sichuan Office plans to closely coordinate its efforts with the local authorities in Pengzhou City, Xiao Yu Dong Township and Taizi Village. HFH China has already signed an umbrella Memorandum of Understanding with the Pengzhou Construction Bureau and will sign a very detailed project agreement with the Township and Village government after the project funds are approved. The Pengzhou Construction Bureau has agreed to sign the Project Agreement as a witness.
The commitment is expected to affect 3,200 lives by providing earthquake-affected individuals with shelter.