VBC prepares for record number of houses

It’s not every day VBC gets to be part of a big celebration – we’re a building organisation after all, and it’s not especially celebratory banging in nails.

But Ulrik Nehammer has decided building houses with Volunteer Building Cambodia is a great place for a party – and it’s not just any party.

Ulrik is celebrating his 50th birthday in style – well, if you can call a sweaty build site stylish – and he’s bringing a heap of friends to help him party, umm build, – to mark the milestone.

In a VBC record, Ulrik’s big birthday bash is sponsoring 10 houses. And we are going to build them all in one week, from January 8, along with an 11th house sponsored by Ann Brownlie from Australia.

“Instead of hosting an enormous party, Ulrik decided to give back and this project was his big birthday wish,” his wife Andrea says.

Ulrik, who is a senior vice president for one of VBC’s biggest supporters, SalesForce, and is based in Hungary, heard about VBC through a colleague and was excited to help.

They have raised the money to sponsor the houses through a JustGiving page and at the time of writing had raised $54,537 of their $60,000 target.

It’s fair to say, this is HUGE for VBC. Usually we build a maximum of three houses in a week but this special occasion has called for special arrangements and the team has pulled out all stops to make this work.

Our esteemed founder, Mr Sinn, is claiming he is dying from all the organisation he has done to prepare for this epic build.

“This is a very big challenge for VBC and it stretches our resources to the limit,” Sinn says.

“But it is such an amazing contribution from Ulrik and all the sponsors who have donated to his JustGiving page.

“It is 10 times bigger than any single donation we have ever had before.”

Sinn has ordered 100 hammers, 50 scaffold pairs, hard hats and other equipment to prepare for the busy week.

Initially, Ulrik’s plan was to build 15 houses in one week but it changed to 10 houses with all the extras – a well, a toilet and solar kits for each house.

Twenty-six friends will join Ulrik and Andrea for the week of house building.

Of course the ultimate celebration will be for the 10 families receiving the houses because the difference it makes to be able to have safe, secure homes is priceless.

All 11 houses will be built in Kandek Commune, about 10 kilometres east of Siem Reap.

To help prepare for the challenge of building 11 houses in one week, Sinn has organised for the families from each house to work at the VBC warehouse to help pre-cut the timber (pictured). They are paid $5 a day. And they are being trained in how to construct a VBC house to help the process go smoothly throughout the week.

About 60 people will make up the group of volunteers helping to build houses and celebrate Ulrik’s birthday, including a group from Coca-Cola Cambodia. Ulrik previously worked for Coca-Cola and was in charge of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in 2000 and 2001.

VBC is incredibly grateful to you Ulrik for choosing to celebrate with VBC and to all the incredible people who have donated money and who will volunteer to make this happen.

Let the party begin!