Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Community: U.S. church group to build 50 houses in North Korea

The Fuller Center for Housing broke ground on an innovative housing project in the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea on November 11. The partnership with North Korea's Paektusan Academy of Architecture will build 50 new homes in a self-sustaining community at Osan-Ri in the Sunan District near Pyongyang.

There is a shortage of housing in North Korea caused in part by Typhoon Ewiniar, which destroyed more than 30,000 houses in July 2006. This initiative seeks to help alleviate the overcrowded housing conditions that have resulted in parts of the country.

The Paektusan Academy of Architecture will help manage the project. Professionals from the United States and North Korea will work together to develop house plans that are energy efficient and environmentally sensitive in their construction and maintenance.

David Snell, the president of The Fuller Center, traveled to Pyongyang for the groundbreaking event with LeRoy Troyer, Fuller Center board chair; Don Mosley, the founder of Jubilee Partners; and Dr. Han Park, professor of political science at the University of Georgia and an advocate of improving relations between North Korea and the United States.

"We may not change international relations by this venture, but we will provide the opportunity for Koreans and Americans to come together for good and to get to know one another as fellow travelers and trusted friends," said Snell.

The President of the Paektusan Academy said, "By building these houses together with our American friends we will begin to build trust. By building trust we can begin to make peace."

This initiative was born from conversations between Mosley and Professor Park about ways to create greater trust between Korea and the United States at the grassroots level. The project was among the last endorsed by Millard Fuller, founder of The Fuller Center for Housing and Habitat for Humanity, before his death in February. It will be funded privately by donations from the United States and Europe.

The Fuller Center for Housing is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide.

Source: The Fuller Center For Housing

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