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In the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in August 2021, Habitat for Humanity Haiti’s 100% WOMEN project stands out with this ambitious initiative to rebuild while empower women.

In a groundbreaking initiative, Habitat for Humanity Haiti has trained 16 women in construction, equipping them with the skills needed to build homes for families in need. This initiative not only addresses the critical housing shortage but also empowers women by providing them with valuable, marketable skills in a traditionally male-dominated field.

These 16 women, now skilled construction workers, have successfully built homes for five families, each led by a woman head of household. This effort goes beyond simply providing shelter; it symbolizes strength, independence, and the transformative power of opportunity by building homes FOR women, BY women.

One of our beneficiaries, displaying her craft

The 100% WOMEN project is more than a housing initiative; it is a testament to the resilience and determination of the Haitian people. Each home constructed under this project adheres to stringent guidelines designed to withstand future weather events such as earthquakes and hurricanes, which are prevalent in this region.

By ensuring that these homes are built to last, Habitat for Humanity Haiti is not only addressing immediate housing needs but also fostering long-term community resilience. The incorporation of these robust building standards using vernacular techniques (TECLA) is crucial in a region where natural disasters pose a constant threat.

The earthquake of August 2021 left many families in a state of despair. By focusing on female-headed households, Habitat for Humanity Haiti acknowledges the unique challenges these women face and provides them with the support needed to rebuild their lives and communities.

The training program has not only empowered the 16 women directly involved but has also inspired countless others in the community. It demonstrates the profound impact that skill development and gender inclusivity can have on societal recovery and growth.

Habitat for Humanity Haiti’s 100% WOMEN project serves as a model for future initiatives, both in Haiti and beyond. By combining skill development, gender empowerment, and applied construction standards, this project has set a new benchmark for disaster recovery and community rebuilding efforts.

The success of this initiative highlights the importance of inclusive approaches in tackling societal challenges. It underscores the need for continued investment in programs that empower women, promote resilience, and build stronger, more sustainable communities.

Join the Movement

Habitat for Humanity Haiti’s work is far from over. As we continue to rebuild and strengthen communities across Haiti, we invite you to donate to our efforts. Your support can help expand initiatives like the 100% WOMEN project, providing more women with the skills they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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

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.

Everyone deserves a decent place to live.