2018 has been a busy year for Samsung Village, the Engineering & Construction group’s flagship CSR program. Guided by the goal to improve living environments around the world, hundreds of volunteers successfully completed two villages over the past 12 months in Cam Xuyen, Vietnam and Nandgaon, India, improving homes and essential facilities for over 5,000 people.
Behind the construction of every project are unique stories of friendship, resilience, and empathy. These experiences reflect the true value of the project and a core principle of the Engineering & Construction group to share the fruits of growth with local communities.
A Place Called Home
Located three-hour drive from Mumbai, Nandgaon is a town in India’s Maharashtra State. When volunteers from the construction group first arrived in 2017, the area consisted mostly of wooden huts with minimal facilities.
After nearly two years of hard work involving over 140 volunteers, the project was within touching distance of completing 55 new homes in the area. In December this year, 10 volunteers travelled from South Korea to Nandgaon to work on the final home for Ashok and his family.
Undeterred by the heat, the volunteers set their sights on completing the new home in four days. Driven by a common goal, the Samsung C&T built an effective partnership with the local workers despite linguistic barriers. Brick-by-brick, they quickly laid the foundation and erected the walls, finishing Ashok’s new home right on schedule.
Reflecting on the experience, the Samsung C&T volunteers say the hospitality they received kept them motivated. Not only did the local community provide them with refreshing drinks, they even made Korean lunchboxes for the team to keep their spirits high during the arduous construction process.
“A home is a refuge for your loved ones. I feel incredibly happy to have helped build a home for Ashok and his family,” says manager Jooyoun Jung.
Making Dreams Come True
For residents in Cikalong, a remote village in Indonesia’s West Java, living in a safe home is a distant dream. As most families survive on less than USD$200 per month, rotting bamboo sticks and broken roof tiles could be seen in many homes.
In July 2018, volunteers from Samsung C&T began building 20 new homes for the residents as well as two public restrooms and two drinking water facilities in the village. The latest team of volunteers arrived in Cikalong in December with the aim of building three homes during their 5-day stay.
Without the luxury of time, the team couldn’t afford any mistakes. Drawing from their experience and expertise in construction, the nine volunteers assembled every part of the homes with precision amidst intense humidity. Apart from short breaks to wash their faces, the team remained steadfastly focused on the task at hand.
During construction, the team was visited by Ibu Darsiam, a centenarian resident, who expressed gratitude for her new home. The visit not only re-energized the volunteers, but it also reminded them of the importance of their work for the local community.
Songs and Dance
With volunteers travelling thousands of miles across the globe to work on projects, Samsung Village brings people from all walks of life together.
To mark the completion of their mission, volunteers at the Cikalong site performed Taekwondo for the local community, bringing a slice of Korean culture to the Indonesian village. And as a symbol of the new-found friendship, the volunteers and local residents danced together in celebration.
In Nandgaon, volunteers visited a local elementary school during their stay. Together with the students, they designed customized T-shirts, creating lifelong memories along the way.
Looking Back to Move Forward
As 2018 comes to a close, volunteers who participated in the Samsung Village project say the experience was a highlight of their year.
“The volunteer experience has helped me become wiser and grow as a person,” says manager Seungtaek Hong.
Building on the achievements over the past 12 months, the Samsung Village program will begin constructing a village in Dai Tu District in Vietnam, as the project continues the mission to improve the lives of local communities in 2019.