Last week, 130 volunteers joined us in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to build 12 homes for families in need as part of our Rock the House project.
Watch Suze DeMarchi talk about Rock the House on the Morning Show
Rock the House was inspired by Aussie rock band, Baby Animals. Lead singer, Suze DeMarchi was looking for a way to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary and partnered with Habitat for Humanity as a way to give back – and so, Rock the House was born.
Running from the 22nd – 29th October, it was a week of hard work. Our volunteers worked throughout the day in the Indonesian sun – and rain, but their determination never faltered.
Out of the experience, we heard many inspiring stories. Stories from our partner families who have struggled long and hard to provide a better life for their children – and stories from our volunteers who were inspired to give back.
This includes Nic Luntungan.
As a 7-year-old, Nic’s last memories were of the violent and bloody separatist struggle which plunged the country into chaos in the late 1950s.
He vividly remembers himself and his mother being pulled off a bus at gunpoint. “A young soldier held a bayoneted rifle at my mother’s head, for a 7 year old it was terrifying,” Nic said.
His mother managed to convince the soldiers they were Australians and they were let back on the bus, the Dutch passengers (seen as the hated colonialists) were executed on the side of the road.
Sixty years later Nic has returned to Indonesia as one of 130 Australian volunteers who are building houses for vulnerable, poor families in a community 30kms outside of Yogjakarta with Habitat for Humanity Australia.
It’s been an emotional journey. “The village setting, the people, the sights, the sounds, the smells have brought out all back to me. I was overwhelmed on the first few days as wave after wave of emotion swept over me.”
“But is has been a healing journey. It took me completely by surprise. I resisted coming on this trip but now it is amazing to see not a country in chaos but of one in which there is peace and hope and to see so many ‘foreigners’ coming to give and not to coming to take.”
Nic’s story is one of many behind the journey of the 130 volunteers who joined the effort to help Habitat for Humanity Australia build almost 800 houses in Selopamioro Village, in Bantul District, as part of its inaugural Rock the House big-build.
Volunteers have paid their own way on the week-long trip and also fundraised to help fund the development work. Together they worked with local families and builders to construct 12 houses, they also fundraised enough for another 60 houses.
One volunteer is in remission from cancer. Another joined the build after the recent death of her mother and used the small inheritance to fund the trip.
Habitat Australia sends almost 500 Australian volunteers overseas every year to countries across Asia as part of its Global Village program.
The program not only provides a meaningful, unique, life-changing experience but it helps funds Habitat for Humanity’s work to provide safe decent housing, access to clean water and sanitation in countries across Asia.
In Indonesia, some 43% of its 237 million population live on less than $US2 a day, according to the 2010 data. Some 41% have no access to sanitation and 15% have limited access to safe water.
“The work in Bantul District is changing lives, families are being provided safe housing, water and sanitation and the community is thriving. It is enabling kids to go to school. Few people over the age of 50 in this community ever went to school, the area now boasts 100 students are going to university. Better housing is helping people have better lives and building greater hoe,” HFHA CEO, Martin Thomas, said.
Of course not everyone can go on a week-long Global Village build, but if you become a Hope Builder you can help us build more homes for people in need. A home costs as little as $3,000 to build and it not only becomes a safe place for families to live but it becomes an asset for future generations allowing people to study, work and thrive.
Stay tuned for new updates and photos from Rock the House! Thank you to our volunteers and supporters for building homes and hope for those in need.