Students across Canada Help Raise $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity

January 28, 2013

Genworth Canada writing contest receives nearly 5,000 entries from coast to coast

TORONTO, Jan. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Being grateful for what she has, inspired 11-year old Chaamindri Fernando from Winnipeg, Manitoba to write the winning essay in Genworth Canada's sixth annual Meaning of Home contest.

"I share a room with my brother
But I should have my own
He always makes a mess.

But I changed my mind when I knew
You slept on road side benches
Shivering in the cold
Sometimes wet in the rain…"

The Meaning of Home contest invites Grade 4, 5 and 6 students from across Canada to submit a written essay about what home means to them for a chance to direct $60,000 to a Habitat for Humanity build of their choice in Canada and receive a pizza party for their entire school.

Chaamindri's essay was chosen among close to 5,000 entries from all parts of Canada. Participation over 2011 grew by more than 55 per cent this year, and more than 250 per cent in some provinces.

"We are thrilled to see such a significant hike in participation this year," said Brian Hurley , chairman and CEO of Genworth Canada. "It's rewarding to know that our contest inspires children, teachers and parents across the country to reflect on what home truly means and take action to help provide a home for families in need."

Since inception in 2007, the Meaning of Home contest has resulted in approximately $570,000 in total grants from Genworth Canada being directed to more than 30 Canadian Habitat affiliates. With Genworth Canada donating an additional $5 per entry again this year, every participating student helped bring a family closer to homeownership.

"In Canada, the homes of a staggering 1.5 million families are unsafe, too small, or unaffordable," said Mark Rodgers , Chief Operating Officer of Habitat for Humanity Canada. "Each year, the Meaning of Home contest demonstrates the passion of today's youth in ensuring that all children have a good place to call home at the end of the day."

Chaamindri has chosen Habitat for Humanity Manitoba as the beneficiary of her $60,000 prize grant. Five runners-up were also selected and awarded a $5,000 grant each to direct to a Habitat for Humanity affiliate of their choice. The runners-up and their Habitat beneficiaries are the following:

  • Andrew Geffrion, Kanesatake, Québec - Habitat for Humanity Deux Montagnes
  • Annalies Henckel , Courtenay, British Columbia - Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North
  • Sammi Szeto , Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia
  • Denver Winch , Oakville, Ontario - Habitat for Humanity Halton
  • Abby Howard , Whitby, Ontario - Habitat for Humanity Durham

For the first time this year, students were invited to post videos describing what home means to them for a chance to win additional prizes. The videos are available at

To read Chaamindri's complete essay and the other winning entries, visit

About Genworth Canada
Genworth Canada is the brand name of Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Company Canada, a subsidiary of Genworth MI Canada Inc. (TSX:MIC) and the country's largest private residential mortgage insurer. The Company provides mortgage default insurance to Canadian residential mortgage lenders, making homeownership more accessible to first-time homebuyers. Through innovative processing technology, differentiated customer service offerings and a robust risk management framework, Genworth Canada has delivered exceptional value, thought leadership, and safety and soundness to the housing market for nearly two decades.  Genworth Canada continues to have a strong balance sheet and as of September 30, 2012, the Company had $5.6 billion total assets and $2.9 billion shareholders' equity. Find out more at

Habitat for Humanity Canada:
Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. With the help of over 50,000 volunteers every year and 69 affiliate organizations from coast to coast, their mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to break the cycle of poverty in Canada and around the world. For more information, please visit

For additional information or to arrange interviews, please contact: 

Lisa Azzuolo
Genworth Canada
905.287.5520 or

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