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Twenty-four Boral employees, including three from USG Boral, have returned from a volunteer trip to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where they helped to build two houses in five days for families in a rural community that is prone to seasonal flooding. The trip was part of a one-week ‘Rock the House’ project led by charity organisation, Habitat for Humanity Australia.
‘Rock the House’ saw a total of 12 houses built by more than 100 volunteers from across Australia. They worked alongside partner families that owned the homes and local contractors who supervised the building work. It was part of Habitat’s five-year project in the Selopamioro community.
Representing the company’s diverse businesses, geographies and people, Team Boral raised more than $72,000 towards preparations and materials for the build.
Boral’s CEO and Managing Director, Mike Kane, congratulated the group before they departed, saying, “This will be a transformative event for you. I’m encouraged by your commitment and dedication and the fact that you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and take on something that not the average person would do. You will be doing something to help and improve the situation of people in need, and for that I applaud you.”
Habitat for Humanity
Over five days, Team Boral dug trenches, prepared foundations, mixed and poured concrete, formed steel reinforcements, laid concrete bricks and rendered walls. At the end of the week, while the homes needed some finishing from local builders before the families could move in, Team Boral could proudly claim responsibility for a concrete foundation replacing mud floors and brick walls standing where there once were timber veneer or woven bamboo sheets.
The volunteers have been changed by the experience. “I think I’m a bit more confident now,” said Kyal Grech, trade sales representative from USG Boral in New South Wales. “I gave a lot of things a go that I wouldn’t normally do, and I think in future that will make it easier for me to face challenges and step outside my comfort zone.”
For Sean Leiper, chemist at USG Boral, it was an opportunity to support those in need. “Usually, I would just donate to charity, but this experience allowed me to see how the funds are used and learn about the process of providing support in a practical, hands-on way.
“It was also a great opportunity to meet colleagues from the broader Boral business and different backgrounds. Being exposed to a new culture, environment and way of doing things was a huge growth opportunity for many in Team Boral, which will extend to the way we do business back in Australia.”
The partner families expressed their gratitude at a handover ceremony on the final day, struggling to hold back tears as they explained the difference a safe home will make for their families and community. For these families, many of who earn as little as US$2 a day, the prospect of owning even a basic house – a house that doesn’t have mud floors and that doesn’t flood or collapse in storms – is profoundly life-changing,” said Martin Thomas, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Australia.“
Boral has been Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Building Community Resilience’ program partner for two and a half years. It is helping to rebuild vulnerable communities in Asia which are prone to natural disasters, particularly where Boral has operations. In Vietnam, the company has helped more than 500 families in the Quang Nam, Dong Thap and Tien Giang communities improve housing conditions and better prepare for natural disasters. In Indonesia, it has assisted in upgrading two urban slums in Yogyakarta, which are home to more than 1,700 families. In Australia, Boral has donated in-kind materials, like plasterboard, timber and concrete, to help build homes for those in need.
For further information contact:
Anastasia Narkiewicz, USG Boral USG Boral +61 3 9214 2173 Habitat for Humanity +61 2 9919 7000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn about volunteering for Habitat for Humanity’s 2017 Rock the House build, visit www.rockthehouse.org.au.