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In August 2021, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southern region of Haiti resulting in injuries to over 12,000 individuals and extensive damage to approximately 137,500 structures. In response to this crisis, Habitat for Humanity Haiti, in collaboration with our partner UMCOR, took initiative to assist survivors by providing earthquake relief with sturdy, disaster-resilient homes to the most vulnerable families.

After implementing a transparent selection process, 18 families were nominated by the local community and subsequently identified as recipients for new housing units. These families, many of whom had lost their homes or sources of income during the catastrophic event, were residing in inadequate makeshift shelters constructed from materials like sheet metal, wood planks, or latanier (similar to straw). These shelters were susceptible to leakage in rainy seasons and prone to collapse during hurricanes, a common occurrence in the hurricane and earthquake-prone southern regions of Haiti, requiring continuous rebuilding efforts and leaving families in a perpetual state of uncertainty.

Habitat Haiti employed its established hurricane and earthquake resilient construction techniques to erect all 18 homes, ensuring durability and safety for the inhabitants. Habitat Haiti also provided training to 120 new masons, equipping them with essential skills in proper construction practices. This not only empowered these individuals to contribute effectively to future housing projects but also fostered self-sufficiency within the community, aiding in long-term sustainability beyond Habitat’s presence in the area.

Introducing Marceline: Empowered by Habitat’s Support

Meet Marceline, a resilient mother of 8 children, who tragically became widowed following the destructive earthquake of August 2021. Struggling with homelessness after being ousted from her own residence by her husband’s family, Marceline found refuge in a makeshift shelter constructed from sheet metal by her brother. However, the living conditions were far from adequate for her large family.

Thanks to the impactful collaboration between Habitat for Humanity and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief), Marceline’s story takes a positive turn. With their support, Marceline and her children now have a secure and stable place to call home, providing them with the safety and comfort they deserve. Your support can continue to transform lives like Marceline’s, offering hope, security, and dignity to those in need.

Marceline in front of her old house

Marceline, her mother, and her 8 children in front of her new home

 

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Alexandra Jackson, and I’m a manager and land tenure specialist for the Leveraging Land in Haiti Program. I am a Christian woman. My passion is evangelism. In my spare time, I like to organize sessions of socially active evangelism with youth. I motivate them and accompany them to be more socially active. Our last activity was an awareness campaign towards COVID-19 in my neighborhood.

How long have you been working with HFHH?
February 2016.

What is your favorite memory with HFHH?
When we went to Cap Haitian, the day after an awareness workshop where we distributed manuals about property law, I met many women with our manuals in hand, notes scribbled along the margins. They took the time in less than a day to read it and come up with questions the very next day.

What are some of your interests? What do you do in your spare time?
I love working in property law in Haiti. I’ve been doing it for close to 10 years. I even earned my Master’s in property law. I like seeing how human relations are intertwined with property in Haiti.

Describe yourself using three words.
Altruistic, optimistic and trusting.

What are some of your goals for the future?
Aside from my goal to be even more involved in my community. I’d like to take on a specialty in property law management. This would go well with my current degree.

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.

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

Everyone deserves a decent place to live.