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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

New roof over their heads

Bidah and her grandchildren are excited to move into their new home.

Bidah and her grandchildren are excited to move into their new home.

A SINGLE mother and 16 of her children and grandchildren stepped into their new home after Berjaya Youth (B. Youth) joined forces with Epic Homes to build her a better and bigger house in just three days.

Epic Homes is a social enterprise that aims to provide sustainable homes for the orang asli community in Malaysia.

Bidah Ban was living in a dilapidated house measuring only 400 sq ft in Kampung Batu 12, Gombak. The house was not safe because roofing problems and a slanted structure.

The project, which cost RM40,000, managed to bring a smile to Bidah when 31 volunteers built a 650 sq ft house with a verandah that she could call home.

“I am very excited and thankful to the volunteers who came to help build me a house,” said Bidah, who had been living in her previous house for almost 30 years.

Berjaya Youth & Epic Homes Build Project, In aid of the underprivileged at Kampung Orang Asli Batu 12, Gombak, Selangor on August 10,2014.ROHAIZAT MD DARUS/STAR.
Their old house which was only 400sq ft, is not safe to live in anymore.

Building the house was not an easy task for the volunteers as it was located on top of Bukit Terang.

It was at least a 10-minute steep hike up to the house.

Epic Homes co-founder Jayne Kennedy said it was one of the toughest projects that Epic Homes had undertaken.

“The transportation of the planks and construction equipment took most of the first day. The villagers helped carry some of the supplies up to the house, which was very helpful,” she said.

Kennedy said building the foundation of the house was also a challenge as the ground was not on the same level.

“But we managed to get through. The volunteers showed amazing teamwork,” she added.

To prepare for the three-day building project, B. Youth volunteers were required to attend a Builders Basics workshop to equip them with the right set of skills and knowledge to build a house.

Volunteers were assessed based on their skill sets and assigned to different groups to manage the different aspects of the project.

Master builder Shafril Hadi Kamal, together with his specialists, was onsite to provide guidance, assistance and to ensure all safety measures were strictly adhered to.

First-time volunteer Acacia Mardiana Daud, 22, said she never knew building a house was such a tough task.

“It was a rare opportunity for me to help build a house and I felt satisfied to see all my hardwork come to life,” she said, adding that she usually volunteered at soup kitchens.

B. Youth volunteers hard at work building Bidah's new home.
B. Youth volunteers hard at work building Bidah’s new house. — Photos by ROHAIZAT DARUS

Acacia said that as she was studying architecture, building a house helped her appreciate building structures.

Another volunteer Mark Lee, 24, agreed that the experience was beneficial to the field he was in — surveyor engineering.

“This is my second time volunteering with Epic Homes and the sense of satisfaction when the house is completed is what keeps me going,” he said.

Berjaya Corporation Bhd corporate communications division senior general manager Judy Tan said B.Youth was currently looking for another project to collaborate with Epic Homes.

“We are still in the midst of identifying the house and it will probably be finalised by the end of this year or early 2015,” she said.

B. Youth is a platform created by Berjaya Corporation Berhad specifically for the youth community in Malaysia, with the objective of promoting positive youth development, learning and networking.

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , Family Community , Berjaya Corporation , Berjaya Youth , Epic Homes , volunteers , building homes


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