CALA employee completes build of a lifetime in Cambodia

A CALA Homes employee from Kirkintilloch has returned from Cambodia, where she has been building a home for a local family in need in partnership with international charity Habitat for Humanity.

Claire Ferris, development surveyor at CALA Homes (East), worked with nine other CALA employees to build a home for the Yat Yen family, who were previously living in an informal settlement in the Battambang province of Cambodia.

CALA employee completes build of a lifetime in Cambodia

(from left) Casey Hill (CALA Midlands), Claire Ferris (CALA East), Andy Pennell (CALA Group), Kathleen McLaughlin (CALA Group) and Adam Towers (CALA North Home Counties)

Chea Sal and his wife, Yat Yen, along with their four daughters, were previously living in a small house made out of scrap metal, wood and palm leafs. Sal is a fisherman during the rainy season and is also a labourer on a local farm. The family survive on an income of just $75 (USD) per month.

As well as building a much-needed home, the CALA Build 2019 team also raised £25,000 which will provide vital aid to the crisis zones across the world, in areas where Habitat for Humanity are currently unable to send volunteers.

Commenting on the experience, Claire said: “When we first arrived in Battambang province I was a little daunted by the challenge ahead, but that quickly disappeared as we got stuck into the build.

“Working together as a team and building a real home for the Yat Yen family is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done – I just wish we could have done the same for all of the families in the area.

“I’ve learn so much from the experience, but the key thing for me is the realisation that money really can’t buy happiness. Seeing how happy the Yat Yen family were with their new home has made me look at my own life and see that all you really need is the people you love beside you – everything else is expendable.”

CALA employee completes build of a lifetime in Cambodia

The CALA Build team with Habitat for Humanity volunteers and the Yat Yen family

The 10-strong CALA Build team were selected from employees across the UK for their commitment to the CALA core values of quality, delivery, passion and respect, in their everyday roles.

David McGrath, managing director at CALA Homes (East), said: “The work that Habitat for Humanity does makes such a huge difference to people like the Yat Yen family, and I am so proud of Claire and the team for playing their part in such an important project. It’s clear that the team have found the experience extremely rewarding, and most importantly, they’ve provided the Yat Yen family with a safe and secure home.”

The Cambodian Government has estimated that at least 10 million of its people lack access to decent housing. 17.7% of the population – or 2.8 million people – still live in extreme poverty, and an estimated two million houses are in critical need of improvement to meet minimal quality standards. It’s estimated that more than one million homes will be needed by 2030 as a result of population increase and rural urban migration in Cambodia.

Katie Chedgey, the group’s team leader from Habitat for Humanity Great Britain, said: “From the very first meeting with the team I knew that they would deliver the best possible results in terms of their fundraising total, completing the building work on site and engaging with the local community. The 10 individuals from CALA’s various UK Offices had only met briefly before the build but in Cambodia they quickly came together as a team, working with love and respect to a create a quality home. With their passion and commitment they have contributed to our vision of a world where everyone has a decent and safe place to live.”

More than 22 million people have secured new or improved housing through Habitat for Humanity since the organisation was founded in 1976, with more than 8.7 million people served in the last year alone.

Share icon
Share this article: