Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


Some four years ago The Fuller Center for Housing was presented with the idea of building peace by building houses in North Korea. Our extensive experience in challenging locations, places like the mountains of Peru, the jungles of the Congo and the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, made us a likely partner in such an effort.

We were most taken with the possibility this project offered for Americans and North Koreans to come together in a common cause and get to know one another as brothers and sisters rather than historic enemies. Those of us who have had the good fortune of traveling to North Korea can attest to the warmth and friendship that was shown to us.

Over time, however, the challenges of logistics and communications have overtaken the initiative, and it is with sadness that we announce its indefinite suspension. Perhaps the future will bring new opportunities for efforts like this to proceed, but for now we must step back.

We continue to wait prayerfully for the day when all of God’s people can come together in peace. Our experiences in North Korea confirm what we’ve learned around the world, that despite the apparent differences that separate us we are all pretty much alike, sharing the dream of a better world for our children.



Millard Fuller Legacy Build targets Minden, La. next fall

Millard Fuller Legacy Build targets Minden, La. next fall

By Vickie Welborn
Shreveport Times

MINDEN, La. — The calendar hasn’t flipped to 2011 yet, but volunteers involved with a housing program already are anticipating a big event next fall.

The Fuller Center for Housing of Webster Parish
has been selected as the host partner for the annual Millard Fuller Legacy Build that will take place Oct. 16-22 in Minden.

The third annual build will bring hundreds of volunteers to the area for a week to work on eight new homes and five rehabilitation projects.

The worldwide goal is 100 houses.

"This is a tremendous honor for our covenant partner," Ben Martin, president of the local housing ministry, said in a news release. "We are also very humbled that The Fuller Center for Housing would place their confidence in us to put this huge event together. We are very grateful that the international organization decided to bring MFLB 2011 to Minden."

This will be the largest single endeavor tackled by the local housing ministry in its 19-year history. Executive Director Charlie Park recalled that in 2005 a single house was built in two weeks. And in 2008, two houses were built in seven weeks.

"With somewhere between 250 to 300 volunteers coming to Minden to help us build these houses, we will need almost that many additional volunteers to handle the behind the scenes tasks," Park said. "We will be facing requirements like feeding and lodging all the visiting volunteers, transportation, medical, family support, devotionals, entertainment, and a host of other phases that will be crucial to the success of this event."

The blitz build will take place on 5.6 acres on Pine Street.

The tract of land will become a new subdivision named Legacy Acres, with the street down the middle named Millard Fuller Drive.

The new subdivision ultimately will contain 20 new houses.

"We are very grateful to all the officials with the city of Minden who have worked with us through the planning and development phase of this project," Park said. "Before the end of December, we hope to see dirt moving and dust flying." Continue reading>>

Home for the Holidays – An Armenian family

Home for the Holidays – An Armenian family

The Fuller Center put hundreds of families in new homes this year. That means hundreds of families have a safe and decent place to spend the holidays. Here’s just one of their stories.

The Vardanyan family in Armenia lived in a metal shipping container (called domiks) since 1988 when an earthquake destroyed homes and temporary shelter provided by the government turned into permanent housing.

"Almost all people living in metal containers have the same story," Tatevik Ayvazyan, of Fuller Center Armenia, said. The earthquake killed some 27,000 people.

"Many children grew up in the temporary shelters and now their children are growing up in the same conditions," Ayvazyan said.

The Vardanyan’s, Marine and Artush, who have two teenaged daughters and a 10-year-old son, have been living in a metal container district in Vanadzor City.

Artush was living at the domik when he married Marine in 1990. Artush’s parents lost their apartment during the earthquake in 1988. They were waiting for government aid. Finally, they got it in 1995 in Taron district. But, Artush’s father soon found out he had cancer. The medical service was very expensive, especially for a low-income family.

They began to borrow money from the friends and relatives. When Artush’s father passed away in 2000, Artush’s mother decided to sell the house to pay for funeral expenses and repay the debts they owed.

In 2005 this family had a chance to purchase a home through the Fuller Center of Armenia. But Artush didn’t have a job at the time and Marine decided it wouldn’t be a responsible choice. They applied again when he secured a job and she felt confident that they would be able to afford the interest-free mortgage.

"This is now the only opportunity for the family to get a safe house and live in peace," Ayvazyan said.

The Vardanyan family’s Fuller Center home was blessed this summer.

"Now the family has a nice house," Ayvazyan said.

Their home came as part of the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia’s fruitful partnership with the Armenian Relief and Development Association (ARDA) and the Vanadzor Municipality. As a result of these relationships, already 16 families moved to their new, safe and decent homes this year and that had been living in metal containers more than 20 years.

Learn more about the work Armenia is doing to get families out of domik districts and into safe, decent homes and neighborhoods.

Field Visit: Sierra Leone

Field Visit: Sierra Leone

Director of International Operations Ryan Iafigliola recently returned from a trip to visit two of our Fuller Center projects in Africa. Watch the video below about war-torn Sierra Leone:

Donate now to help build homes for Sierra Leone’s refugees.

Learn more about the Fuller Center’s work in Sierra Leone here.

Watch a video about Ryan’s recent visit to Nigeria in his other blog post here! Read More »

Youth 'homeless' for a night raise funds for Fuller Center

Youth 'homeless' for a night raise funds for Fuller Center

LaGrange News

Teenagers from around West Point – and a few brave adults – will face the cold Friday night when they set up a homeless camp at West Point City Park ballfields.

“Homeless for a Night” will draw attention to those in the area without a home or those living in substandard, dilapidated housing. The event, kicking off at 7 p.m. and lasting through the night until 7 a.m. Saturday, will raise money for the Chattahoochee Fuller Center, which aims to build 500 new houses in West Point and Lanett and Valley, Ala. Nearly 30 have been completed since 2005.

West Point’s Refuge Point Church and its youth members are leading the event, with help from other area churches, businesses and organizations.

“It’s time for churches and organizations to unite for a good cause,” said Refuge Point’s pastor, the Rev. Matthew Thrower.

Youths are asked to try and raise $150 each through donations to participate in the event. Each will bring his own cardboard and set up in the park to spend the night.

“You think about the homeless living on the street, but if you’re living in a house with no heat or no running water, you’re basically living in a box,” Thrower said. “There are people right here in our area that are dealing with all of this.”

“Homeless for a Night” events have recently been staged in Valdosta, which is where Thrower and Kim Roberts of the Chattahoochee Fuller Center got the idea. They are hoping to raise enough money to build a house, although the church has volunteered on previous projects.

“We can say, this is the house that youth built,” Thrower said.

Other than the cold – temperatures are expected to be in the 30s overnight this weekend – organizers will have other realistic elements. Sheriff Sid Lockhart of Chambers County, Ala., will grill hamburgers and hot dogs, but the food will be wrapped in foil and put in makeshift trash cans for the youths to retrieve. There will be burn barrels around the park to keep participants warm. The youth will hear testimonies throughout the night from Chattahoochee Fuller Center homeowners.

Unlike real-life shantytowns, however, there will be music all night; dinner and breakfast will be provided; and prizes, including high-ticket Wii game systems, iPods and other items will be given away throughout the night.

Thrower hopes the event becomes an annual ritual for area youth, and not just those at his church.

“The Fuller Center creates communities and a culture of better living,” he said. “To help create that culture is part of the role of the church.”

— For more information, call Roberts at (706) 518-9942 or Thrower at (706) 773-0508.

Read more: La Grange News – Youth will be homeless for a night
Learn more about the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project here!

A heartwarming story from Lanett, Ala.

We’ve recently uncovered some old footage from a build that took place in Lanett, Ala. where the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project keeps busy. The video below features one of their first homeowners, Terence Lovelace. By now, CFCP has completed 23 homes and counting.

Learn more about the work of the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project here.

Find a covenant partner near you!

VIDEO: Ryan Iafigliola reports from Nigeria

VIDEO: Ryan Iafigliola reports from Nigeria

Click the video below to watch Director of International Operations Ryan Iafigliola describe the Fuller Center’s work in Nigeria.

There’s still work to be done! For only $3,500, a family in Nigeria can have a safe and decent place to call home. Donate now to help build more Fuller Center houses in Nigeria.

Click here to read Ryan’s reflections from his trip. Or want to see Luvu Village for yourself? Join or propose a Global Builders trip to Nigeria now!
Read More »

Trip to Africa marks milestone

Trip to Africa marks milestone

After Ryan Iafigliola, Fuller Center Director of International Field Operations, handed the keys to the first Fuller Center homeowner in Sierra Leone, she joyfully entered the new house.

The language she used wasn’t one he understood–apart from two phrases.

"Bye, bye, water!" she exclaimed as she waved to the safe and secure walls, floor and roof. And, he said, he’d learned tenki–a word she used repeatedly–meant "thank you."

Iafigliola was in Sierra Leone during his recent two-week trip visiting Fuller Center projects there and in Nigeria. Watch a video from his trip.

"Although I was well aware of statistics about the need, seeing the dire conditions firsthand and meeting the families was still a shock to my system. We can do more – we must do more. We have the right people in place on the ground, but we have a crucial need for more support, particularly financial, from their Christian brothers and sisters in the U.S. and Canada," Iafigliola said.

You can read Iafigliola’s firsthand account of the trip in the Fuller Center’s blog here.

Here’s an update from the projects…


Nigeria is suffering a housing shortage of an estimated 16 million homes (source). As a result, finding affordable housing is a challenge, and the poor are impacted most of all.

The Fuller Center of Nigeria is addressing this issue under the direction of Samuel Odia. He created a unique incremental housing model which allows homeowners to graduate from smaller units to increasingly larger ones as they pay off their interest-free loans. (Read more about the system here.)

In Nigeria, Iafigliola visited with homeowners and checked on the progress of building taking place in a village just outside of Abuja, called Luvu. He also attended the Fuller Center Nigeria’s board meeting.

He said, "The entire board and staff has been working tirelessly and self-sacrificially to make this possible, and they are committed to seeing the work expand exponentially. In Nigeria, we have that opportunity." 

The Fuller Center of Nigeria reached a milestone of 50 homes last year and continues to build new homes as funds are available. Each new unit costs only $3,500 to complete; $14,000 for each 4-plex.

Visit the Nigeria page to learn more about the project and to donate.

Sierra Leone

As a result of a civil war that ended just nine years ago, houses in Sierra Leone are incredibly overcrowded and often consist of little more than a tarpaulin. 

Since the end of the war, very little has been done to bring affordable housing to Sierra Leone and relatively few non-profit organizations are at work there. Isabel Johnston knew she couldn’t sit back and watch this problem without trying to help. Johnston returned to her home in Sierra Leone after serving for many years as director of Habitat for Humanity Uganda.

"The 11-year rebel war had just ended, I empathised with so many people who had lost homes, property and loved ones. The plight of those living in poverty homes or homelessly had worsened," Johnston said. "The need is extremely urgent especially after the season when heavy rains wash away mud huts."

Iafigliola saw the effects of the war–and the desperate need for housing–firsthand.

"The living conditions are, in a word, tragic. People are living in tents, tarps, houses of mud. Sanitation is minimal," Iafigliola said. "The conditions are perhaps similar to what we found in Haiti following the earthquake, but here it is seemingly permanent–and worse, the people are forgotten."

To learn more about the Fuller Center’s work in Sierra Leone, or to donate, click here.

With the support of the Fuller Center, she was able to launch a covenant partner and just completed the first home. The work has attracted the attention and praise of some of the nation’s top officials, including the President, and the Fuller Center has been granted 10 acres of land to continue the work. Because of the large family size, houses are slightly larger than in Nigeria but still cost only $5,000 each.