TABITHA HOUSEBUILDING EXPERIENCE
A:I joined Tabitha Foundation and Travel Theory for a Housebuilding Experience project in an outskirt farming village of Phnom Penh. Our team of 10 volunteers, to which 3 from A:I, raised a total of USD 5,000 for the housebuilding project. 100% of the raised funds were used to purchase building materials and tools as the foundation and organizer do not take any administrative or management fees.
Prior to arrival at the village, the locals already started constructing the foundation and basic structure for the new houses. USD 5,000 was enough to build 5 simple houses for 5 families. These homes, including the existing ones in the neighborhoods, shared bathrooms and kitchens in separated structure. Therefore, the villagers are very close to one another, often helping each other out with crop harvesting, food, and any resources they earn or receive.
According to Tabitha Foundation, over 10,100 houses have been constructed by 20,000 volunteers from all over the world since the inception of their “Community Development through Savings Program” and “Housebuilding Program” in 1996. In the program, the locals saved up several years to purchase small tracts of lands from the government, and the foundation raised funds for building materials. Most of the houses have the same simple blueprint with concrete foundation, wood columns and beams, wood or bamboo flooring, and aluminum wall paneling and roof covering. The houses are raised about eight to ten feet off the ground to prevent flooding from rainy seasons as well as providing an outdoor resting areas underneath. Most of the houses do not have electricity or any utility services.