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Habitat for Humanity exceeds goals in Lebanon’s disaster reconstruction program

One year following the 2006 July War in Lebanon that destroyed and damaged thousands of homes in the southern part of the country, Habitat for Humanity has exceeded its goals to provide transitional housing for families who lost their homes and to reunite fractured communities. Habitat for Humanity Lebanon’s reconstruction project, which was launched in January 2007 in response to the conflict, has served 43 percent more families than originally hoped, assisting nearly 1,000 more people than expected.

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Habitat for Humanity Lebanon’s reconstruction project has served thousands of people.

 

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Pictured here is Nasmiya, one of Habitat for Humanity Lebanon’s homeowners.

The program was designed to provide adequate shelter for internally displaced families in the south with a homeowner-driven repair process. In addition, the project stimulated the local economy by sourcing local materials and providing a vocational training component to help offset the loss of livelihoods in the region. “We’ve been thrilled with the progress,” said Dani El Tayar, Habitat for Humanity Lebanon’s national director. “We have been able to accomplish even more than we had hoped and get more families back into homes.”

But these numbers mean little unless backed up by real human impact. Habitat for Humanity homeowner, Mahmoud Gadboun, expressed his appreciation for the support. “I really appreciate what you did for us. It was done in a very gentle manner even though you were not obligated to do anything. You supported us and laid the foundation for rebuilding our home.”

Habitat Lebanon’s success has not come without difficulty, though. Doreen Bourachi, a Disaster Response team member, says that there were several kinks to work out in the beginning. For instance, so many people were trying to rebuild their homes at the same time that there was a shortage of workers to do construction. “We’ve had some beneficiaries who have had delays simply because there was no one to do the job. We had to help them find electricians, plumbers and other construction workers.” Another major challenge was earning the trust of those who had been affected. “When we first arrived, many people were very skeptical,” says Dan O’Brien, program manager. “They had been promised a lot by other organizations, but as we started to deliver on what we had promised, they opened up to us.” With perseverance, the program began to work with efficiency and has proven extremely successful.