Habitat for Humanity China's Under No Roof camp raises awareness of poverty

Habitat for Humanity China's Under No Roof camp raises awareness of poverty

It's easy to take your home for granted, but remember that a lot of people around the world live without basic shelter or clean drinking water

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The team had to build a shelter out of bamboo sticks, string and plastic bags.
The team had to build a shelter out of bamboo sticks, string and plastic bags.
Photo: Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong

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Learning the importance of teamwork and communication during the "Under No Roof" camp.
Learning the importance of teamwork and communication during the "Under No Roof" camp.
Photo: Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong

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Learning the importance of teamwork and communication during the "Under No Roof" camp.
Learning the importance of teamwork and communication during the "Under No Roof" camp.
Photo: Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong

For most people, the first thing you see when you wake up is a roof over your head. It is that roof which protects you from rainy weather and keeps you warm and safe.

You may take shelter for granted, but not everyone is so lucky. There are an estimated 100 million people around the world who are homeless. Habitat for Humanity China organised another "Under No Roof" camp to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty. The event was held at the YMCA's Wu Kwai Sha Youth Village in Ma On Shan on July 26 and 27. It attracted 120 people, including two of our junior reporters. Here's what they learned…

Experiencing homelessness

At the "Under No Roof" camp, there are two options: you can take part for half-day, or for two days and one night. We opted for the half-day and spent six hours outdoors to learn about homelessness and how to survive in the open. There were workshops, shelter-building exercises, disaster simulation and even a treasure hunt.

The importance of clean water

Our favourite workshop involved learning how to make a bush-craft water filter.

The filter is a way of removing dirt from water with the help of a plastic bottle. It's a useful tool if you run out of drinkable water while out camping or hiking.

First, we cut a plastic bottle in half and drilled three holes in the bottom. Then we created the filter by layering a piece of fabric, charcoal, dirt, sand, grass, and gravel in that order.

The sequence - from fine to coarse - is important because it means most of the dirt gets removed as the water passes through, before dripping out of the three holes in the bottom.

To be extra safe, it's best to run the water through the filter a few times to make sure all the dirt is removed, and then boil it before drinking.

Time for a team

There was no shelter provided during the camp, so we had to build one ourselves. We formed groups of 10, and were given 13 bamboo sticks, plastic bags and some string to build a shelter that could fit our entire team. To pass the test, the shelter had to be able to keep us dry from the rain.

After 45 minutes of hard work, we managed to complete our shelter. It was a really rewarding experience, because we'd built it entirely by ourselves. It taught us the importance of teamwork and communication, and also to appreciate how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads.

Natasha Lau and Kelsi Lo

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Bringing poverty close to home

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