PINGHU, China, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The USA Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai today partnered with Habitat for Humanity in their poverty housing alleviation project in Pinghu County, Zhejiang Province.
Beatrice Camp, U.S. Consul General in Shanghai, together with more than 50 of the Pavilion's Student Ambassadors and other construction workers, wielded shovels to lay the foundation of a new house for a local underemployed resident Gu Jinfa and his 76-year-old arthritic mother.
As one of the USA Pavilion's official partners, Habitat for Humanity China (HFHC) has been active in Pinghu County, Zhejiang Province, since 2009 when it set up the first poverty housing alleviation project in the Yangtze River Delta region to construct three homes for families in need. HFHC aims to extend the project in this expo year and beyond until poverty housing in the county is eliminated.
"I am pleased the USA Pavilion is partnering with Habitat for Humanity in the spirit of community service to help build a much-needed new home for a local family in Pinghu," said Ambassador Jose H. Villarreal, U.S. Commissioner General. "This project puts into action our message of healthy community-building, and we are pleased we can make this contribution to a local Chinese community while promoting the Expo theme of 'Better City, Better Life.'"
"Habitat for Humanity has long represented the American spirit of volunteerism and helping others," said Beatrice Camp, U.S. Consul General in Shanghai. "They are a natural partner for the USA Pavilion and a great example of people working together to make 'Better City, Better Life' a reality throughout China and the world."
Eric Arndt, general manager of Habitat for Humanity China's Shanghai office, noted, "We are delighted to build together with the USA Pavilion here in Pinghu. It is a deep expression of our shared core values of rising to new challenges through team effort, and our goal of strengthening and connecting communities worldwide."
Although Pinghu has seen great economic benefits from China's export boom and the rapid growth of nearby cities such as Shanghai and Hangzhou, some families have not accessed these new opportunities. These families often have to live with neighbors or at local government buildings several months a year, especially during typhoon seasons when their homes are in danger of collapsing.
The 53-year-old homeowner, Gu Jinfa, has been living with his 76-year-old mother, Hu Daogen, in their dilapidated house for decades. Gu works as a construction laborer, with unstable monthly earnings of RMB 700 - 800 ($103-$118). His elderly mother has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for years and can no longer undertake any farm work or other income-earning labor.
Gu is among seven families in two villages of eastern Pinghu that meet HFHC's poverty housing alleviation criteria. HFHC has coordinated with project partner Cargill, local government and architects in designing homes of 60 - 80 sq. meters for these families. After today's groundbreakings, the USA Pavilion's staff will continue with the voluntary construction activities until all eight houses are completed by late November.
About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than two million people.
Habitat for Humanity China began its operation in 2000 and now has offices in Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Sichuan, Shanghai and Hong Kong. HFH China has built and rehabilitated more than 2,000 homes to meet shelter needs after disasters, for minority communities, and for families affected by disability. The Shanghai Project Office was established in 2010 with the mission of addressing affordable housing needs in eastern China, and of supporting poverty housing alleviation efforts in southwestern parts of the country.
About USA Pavilion
Being one of the most popular pavilions at Expo 2010, the USA Pavilion has kept a momentum of hosting 45,000 visitors per day, and is expected to receive more than seven million guests over the entire duration of the Expo.
At more than 60,000 square feet (6,000 square meters), the USA Pavilion is one of the largest national pavilions at the Expo. With the theme of "Rising to the Challenge," the United States presence will showcase American culture, values, innovation and business in one of China's most dynamic cities, while celebrating the friendship and cooperation between the United States, China and the rest of the world.
USA Pavilion official Website:
This News Flash is distributed by Newsmaker Group on behalf of Shanghai Expo 2010 Inc., a non-profit corporation authorized by the State Department of the United States of America to conduct the planning, design, fundraising and operation of the USA National Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
SOURCE Shanghai Expo 2010 Inc.