Homes Bring Hope in Cambodia
Palmerston North City Council civil engineer Kelvin Au (left), 25, is putting his skills to good use in Cambodia as part of a Habitat for Humanity one-year placement, organized via Engineering Without Borders, building homes for families in the South East Asian kingdom. Three hundred volunteers, including 160 from New Zealand, travelled to Cambodia last November. They built 22 houses in five days. There are no building codes or standards in Cambodia, so Au’s challenge is to balance safety, efficiency and cost. A budget of just $5000 for a house and $5000 for land makes it a difficult job, but rewards far outweigh challenges. “I have the opportunity to look at a side of Cambodia that not many people get to see,” Au says. To qualify for a Habitat home people must earn less than $1 a day and live in substandard housing.