Building homes in the third world

Josh Jennings will spend a week with Habitat for Humanity volunteers building homes for some of Cambodia’s poorest members of the community.

A Cambridge builder and father-of-three will do his bit to support the poorest of the poor in Cambodia in November when he takes part in the Habitat for Humanity Cambodia Big Build.

Josh Jennings will travel to the rural province of Siem Reap – one of the Reul commune’s poorest areas with over 30 percent of households considered poor and vulnerable – to build  safe, quality and affordable houses with volunteers from around the world.

Owner of Kit Markin Homes in Cambridge, Jennings hopes his experience in construction will help make a difference during the November 17 – 22 big build, which could see 45 homes completed.

“I’ve travelled around different countries and seen what the real slums look like, so for me it’s a good reminder of what it’s like for some people in the world,” said Jennings. “I think in New Zealand we take for granted what we have – running water, power, a roof over our head… So I’m hoping I can use my skills as a project manager, and being a qualified builder, to really help get these projects over the line within the very tight time frame.”

With about 15 Kiwis taking part in the project, Jennings, 29, won’t be the only Cambridge local getting involved – the team from Moess LTD is taking on the challenge too.

“We’ve wanted to do this for a while now and when we saw that Josh was heading over we thought it would be good to go over with another Cambridge company,” said Ian Moess, who will travel to Cambodia along with wife Andrea and 14 year old daughter Georgia. “We’ve travelled to a few countries that could be classed as third world and have always said we would do something if we could to try and make a difference for people that have so little.”

The Moess family from Moess LTD is also taking on the Cambodian challenge.

During the build week, as many as 500 volunteers will build brick house and wooden homes  similar to the style of village homes in Cambodia.

The province is 314km north of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, where 140,000 people are living in over 500 slum communities. The most vulnerable members of the Siem Reap community to benefit from the Big Build project include families who have lost their homes and livelihoods to natural disaster, the elderly, orphans, the homeless, and those living with disability or HIV/AIDS.

Jennings – who donates $3,000 from the net profit of every New Zealand home he builds towards Habitat for Humanity homes in the Pacific Islands – plans on doing the Cambodia Big Build project in the future, and hopes to encourage other Cambridge companies and tradespeople to take up the challenge.

“I’d like to do it every year and get more Cambridge people on board – electricians, plumbers, plasterers, volunteers. It would be awesome to have a community from Cambridge that went to Cambodia.”

To help support Josh’s November trip to Cambodia, visit the Go Fund Me page.

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