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Simon, 66, is one of Habitat for Humanity Haiti’s beneficiaries in Pestel, a community in the South of Haiti in the Grande Anse department. Simon tells us “I like that they didn’t just give us money or a house, we contributed to building our home, which made me feel proud. I was proud to be able to show my kids and grandkids the value of hard work and that I can contribute to my own well being. For that, I am grateful.” Simon’s house is one of the many that was greatly affected by Hurricane Matthew, and was part of our disaster relief efforts. Your donations help beneficiaries like Simon get back on their feet in a home that will now withstand future hurricanes and environmental catastrophes.

 

 

Habitat for Humanity Haiti has recently completed a successful training of a team of 19 people from the community of Canaan, located north of the capital of Port-au-Prince, in the repair and maintenance of solar powered streetlights. Studies have shown that the addition of streetlights can reduce crime by up to 36%. Prior to this initiative, the streetlamps that were installed by Habitat for Humanity and its partners would fall in disrepair due to a lack of qualified workers bale to service these areas. As such, the installed streetlamps, put in place to ensure that these streets did not remain in the dark after sunset were not properly maintained.

The training was done by Habitat for Humanity in conjunction with a local partner. After learning from similar projects in other areas of Haiti, Habitat for Humanity decided to empower a group of individuals by giving them the knowledge they would need in the maintenance of these solar powered streetlamps. The goal is to help create a pool of qualified workers in every community where solar streetlamps are installed.

At the end, each participant received a toolkit containing everything they would need to maintain and upkeep the solar powered streetlamps. Participants ranged in age from 20 years old, to more senior members of the community. One young woman from the community who took part in the program, Ruthiana, shared her thoughts with us. Ruthiana, who is studying to become a civil engineer said, “It’s important for me to understand how these solar streetlamps work because they help my entire neighborhood; now, if one of them breaks down, I will be able to help my community by fixing it.”

Through this solar streetlamp project, Habitat Haiti has partnered with the community to continue promoting a safe environment for the community of Canaan. We intend to continue with this model, training members of the community in the maintenance of solar powered streetlamps, in other areas throughout Haiti.

 

 

We have been hard at work helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In our partner communities, many families rely on daily income and lack access to decent housing and clean water making it difficult to social distance. At Habitat Haiti, we remain committed to employing local masons, increasing access to clean water, and providing families with safe homes. This month, our families have been equipped with hand washing stations and water storage materials. In Saint Louis du Nord, a community in the north of Haiti, we continue to build homes with the help of women builders, breaking stereotypes and empowering women to provide for themselves and their families.

     

For just $12, we can provide a hand washing station to help communities in need fight COVID-19!

Habitat for Humanity Haiti beneficiary Amerose makes the most of her parcel of land in Corail, a rural community several houses from Port-au-Prince. There, she grows corn, which she eats, and also uses to feed her chickens. Any excess she sells at the market. During a recent visit, she also showed us her pineapples, which were slowly growing on their bushes. During the summer seasons, she tells us the plentiful pineapples give off the most pleasant smell as they come in 3 to 4 in a bunch.

Amerose also makes cassava, a Haitian flatbread, which can take up to 5 days to prepare. First, she explains, you cultivate the grains, then you grind them and let them dry. Finally, you cook it. Cassava is often eaten in the morning with peanut butter or avocado. Our very own local version of avocado toast!

Amerose and her family moved into their new Habitat home last year as part of our Hurricane Matthew recovery program. When the hurricane destroyed their home, Amerose and her family sought refugee in a nearby church. Today, they are one of over 300 families in their community who have partnered with Habitat to build back stronger.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Taina Camy, I’m 33 years old, married with two children, a boy and a girl.

How long have you been with Habitat?

Since December 2013.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Haiti. I have a degree in sociology which I received from the Université de l’Etat d’Haïti.

What motivation drives you?

I have a long background in the nonprofit sector in Haiti where I have worked mostly in gender equality. I’m lucky enough to have found a job where I can fuse my passion and my livelihood. With Habitat for Humanity, I’ve been able to work on various gender related projects, which ensured that women were not left out of the conversation with home ownership and construction.

What is one of your fondest memories at Habitat for Humanity?

During one of our projects, we sent people from the community of Simon Pele to vocational school to learn construction. My goal was to make sure that everyone who enrolled stuck with the program and obtained their certificates. One young man in particular explained that a life of crime was all he knew, because he was born into it. I kept an open door policy with everyone in the program, and one day, this young man asked to see me, he brought me $1; he explained that he knew this dollar wasn’t much, and would make no difference in my life, but it was the first dollar that he had earned honestly. I was incredibly moved by that moment.

What are three words that best describe you?

Joyful, friendly, determined.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m very passionate about women’s rights, as such, I’m involved in several organizations that fight for the rights of women and girls in Haiti. Aside from that, I’m someone who loves life, and believe that things should bring you joy. If it doesn’t bring you joy, what’s the point of having it in your life? I love to dance, play with my children, laugh with friends, try to always spread joy.

What are some of your plans for the future?

I plan on getting a Master’s Degree and continue the work I do to empower women and girls in Haiti, especially those who are often marginalized by society and don’t have access to the tools that would help them advance in life and empower themselves.

 

The impact of COVID-19 is already being felt in Haiti and throughout the Caribbean. On March 19, the government confirmed its first two cases and declared a state of emergency. The Haitian government has taken steps to limit the spread, including closing all schools and factories until further notice and establishing an 8 pm curfew. Lack of testing and access to protective equipment has already proven a problem, and we anticipate this will continue to be a major issue.

At Habitat for Humanity Haiti, we believe it’s more important than ever in the face of this crisis to continue to support the communities in which we work. In order to face the coronavirus pandemic, Habitat for Humanity Haiti has taken measures to ensure the safety of its staff as well as its beneficiaries.

Our offices are functioning with minimum operations and only a few team members allowed in the building at a time. A hand washing station has been installed at the front door to ensure that anyone stepping into the building, employees or otherwise, washes their hands prior to entering. All employees who can work remotely are greatly encouraged to do so.  We continue our construction work in the North in communities affected by the 2018 earthquake, but we have provided members of the community with hand washing stations as well as training seminars on the proper measures to fight off infection.

We have also taken measures to reduce the number of builders who are on site at any given time. Our staff have assembled a team to bring people in rural Haiti the proper tools to combat the coronavirus providing soap, bleached water, and the lifesaving information required to prevent the spread of the disease. Our awareness campaigns are done in small groups, or door-to-door, while maintaining a safe distance between participants.

All participants are informed of proper measures to undertake in order to remain safe from disease. This includes, but is not limited to, frequent  hand washing, sneezing into elbows, avoiding crowded areas, avoiding handshakes, and cheek kisses, which are common greetings in Haiti. Participants are trained on appropriate water storage techniques and the importance of wiping down surfaces and washing produce before consuming it.

Habitat for Humanity Haiti is committed to taking every necessary precaution to ensure the safety of our staff as well as beneficiaries. Your donations continue to help us to empower the communities in Haiti. You can help us continue to support Haitian families here and designating your gift to Haiti. Together, we empower!

Habitat for Humanity Haiti serves 9,060 individuals as it rises to growing challenges of housing quality and affordability in Haiti

Every 21 seconds. That’s how often Habitat for Humanity helped another family access new or improved housing somewhere around the world in 2019. Of the 7 million people Habitat served, Habitat for Humanity Haiti proudly helped 9,060 individuals.

Habitat for Humanity International, the umbrella organization for Habitat, published its fiscal year 2019 annual report, which documents these successes and others.

“We are proud of the work we were able to accomplish in fiscal year 2019. We are committed to ensuring that every Haitian family has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live and we look forward to serving more Haitian families in 2020,” said Jean Frenel Tham, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Haiti.

Since its founding in 1984, Habitat for Humanity Haiti has now helped more than 60,000 families improve their housing conditions. Every one of those people has a Habitat story. Francois is one of them.

Francois (pictured below) is one of over 1,000 beneficiaries who received assistance following Hurricane Matthew. Before living in his new home, Francois and his wife rented a small room. When Hurricane Matthew hit his community in 2016, the house was damaged, and he found himself without a home. Francois and his wife recently moved into a Habitat for Humanity Haiti repaired home and now have the stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves. “I’m very happy with my new house. Before I was a tenant, now I own my own house. God is good,” said Francois.

Francois stands on the porch of his home repaired by Habitat for Humanity Haiti following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016

In fiscal year 2019, Habitat for Humanity Haiti continued its work in disaster response, urban upgrading, land tenure, and water and sanitation. Highlights included completing construction on 200 new homes and over 1,000 repairs to-date in communities severely affected by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the launch of a land tenure project with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at providing families with formal land titles. Habitat for Humanity Haiti continued its efforts to train and equip construction workers with the knowledge and skills needed to build stronger, more durable homes.

One of over 200 new homes built by Habitat for Humanity Haiti in Hurricane Matthew-affected communities

Additional initiatives included work in Canaan where Habitat for Humanity Haiti has installed 200 solar lamps to-date. Solar lamps provide opportunities for small businesses to extend their hours into the evening and help protect women and girls against gender-based violence. Habitat for Humanity Haiti continued work in Simon-Pelé through its water, sanitation and hygiene program, which provides Haitian students with access to clean water and sanitation facilities at school and equips students with the knowledge they need to be hygiene ambassadors in their communities. Habitat for Humanity Haiti also launched a project with the European Commission to work with universities, the private sector and civil society on alternative construction and financial inclusion methods to facilitate access for low-income families to quality construction materials.

A student in Simon-Pelé, Haiti demonstrates proper hand washing technique

The Habitat for Humanity International report documents Habitat’s many types of work to improve housing around the world—from continuing its traditional work to build safe, decent and affordable homes in partnership with soon-to-be homeowners, to its innovative focus on financial inclusion, housing market systems and entrepreneurship, and to its groundbreaking development of microfinance for the housing sector. Habitat is also broadening its efforts to impact the housing sector through advocacy.

“From our roots on a South Georgia farm to the international organization Habitat is today, our story is one of people coming together to offer a hand,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “It is humbling to think that Habitat’s volunteers, donors and staff have enabled our ministry to help so many build better lives for their families. But the challenge before us is even more humbling. Far too many people—from cities and towns here in the United States, to communities across the globe—do not have access to safe, decent or affordable homes. As this report shows, Habitat is ready to rise to that challenge, and we will use every tool at our disposal to do so.”

By the numbers:

  • Habitat served more than 7 million people around the world in fiscal year 2019 through construction—including new, rehabilitation, repairs and incremental building—market development, professional services and facilitation of civil society.
    • This includes more than 33,000 people in the U.S. and Canada, more than 2 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 1.8 million people in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and more than 3.1 million people in Asia and the Pacific region.
  • Habitat’s total global housing construction was up by nearly 8 percent in fiscal year 2019 over the previous year.
  • Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 29 million people gain access to new or improved housing around the world.
  • Through advocacy and training, Habitat helped an additional 2.3 million people gain the potential to improve their housing conditions in fiscal year 2019.
  • More than 4 million people volunteered with Habitat in fiscal year 2019. Of those, 87 percent originated in the U.S., volunteering on builds within their communities or abroad through global service opportunities.
  • U.S. Habitat organizations tithed US$14.6 million to support Habitat’s work around the world.

To learn more and to read the 2019 annual report, visit habitat.org/multimedia/annual-report-2019.

Yesterday, January 12, 2020 marked the tenth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. As we look back on the past ten years, we remember those who were impacted and are grateful to the many individuals around the world who contributed to recovery efforts. Through our recovery program, Habitat for Humanity Haiti served over 50,000 families. Our work included distributing emergency shelter kits, constructing transitional and upgradeable shelters, providing home damage assessments and repairs, and training individuals in construction.

Together with President and Mrs. Carter, volunteers and beneficiaries also built 300 homes through the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project in 2011 and 2012. In 2018, we visited the Santo community to see how the families were doing. You can read more about this visit here.

Over the last ten years, great improvements have been made. However, even before the earthquake, housing in Haiti was a challenge. The Haitian government’s original action plan recognized the recovery will be a 20-30 year process. Our work in Haiti is far from over.

We remain committed to helping more Haitian families move into safe, permanent homes. We will continue to focus our long-term efforts on land tenure reform, training, capacity building and community rebuilding. This includes efforts such as:

  • The Leveraging Land in Haiti project launched in 2019. This four-year project will support 12,000 families through the complicated land tenure process to secure a formal land title.
  • Our ongoing response to natural disasters, including Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the 5.9 magnitude earthquake which struck the north in 2018. In these communities, we have built over 300 new homes and repaired 1,500 homes.
  • Continued construction training. We have equipped over 600 masons with simple and effective ways to strengthening their local building techniques. Many communities in Haiti have used the same construction techniques for generations. We believe improving these existing methods, instead of implementing new ones, ensures the methods will be adopted by the community.
  • Disaster-risk reduction programs, which help communities to identify and reduce their vulnerability to disasters. To date, we have sensitized over 5,000 households on safe construction.
  • New partnerships with universities and the private sector to develop alternative construction materials and financial inclusion methods. Ultimately, we will work to provide better, more affordable access to quality materials for low-income families.

Whether you have followed along for the past ten years or are joining us now, we are grateful for your investment in Haitian families. We remain more committed than ever in building a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

In October 2016, Category 4 Hurricane Matthew crossed through the Caribbean violently striking the southwest region of Haiti causing widespread damage, flooding and displacement. The storm leveled homes to their foundation and the corrugated metal roofs of those still standing were ripped off.

Habitat for Humanity Haiti immediately launched into action developing an initial disaster response program and providing shelter recovery kits to affected families. Following the initial response, Habitat Haiti began assisting families and communities to rebuild.

Two years later, Habitat Haiti has built over 300 news homes, repaired over 1,500 homes, sensitized over 5,000 households on safe construction, and trained over 600 new builders in the departments of Les Nippes and Grand’Anse.

These homes are built back stronger using basic disaster-resistant construction techniques, including the installation of hurricane clips and strengthening of the walls, to help them withstand future storms. Through this work, families, including Micheline and her husband (pictured below) have a safe place to call home.

This work has been in collaboration and partnership with a wide range of like-minded institutions and donors, including ECHO, AARP, Aktion Deutschland Hilft, CESVI, IOM, Islamic Relief, MercyCorps, Oxfam, Koral, United Nations (CERF) and Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

Micheline is a mother of two boys, ages 4 and 7. She and her husband are farmers. They grow cassava and watch over livestock. They also make charcoal which her husband sells in the market. Earlier this year, the family received the keys to their new home. Her children now have a safe place to study and play. Slowly but surely, Micheline and her family are rebuilding their lives.

New homeowner, Altide, stands on the front porch of her Habitat home.

One of over 300 new homes built through Habitat Haiti’s Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts

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Everyone deserves a decent place to live.