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One step at a time

Carter Work Project 2012: Sunday’s theme

Photo by Dominique Rattner

Have you ever added a porch or a bedroom to your house? Have you ever thought about how the poor around the world build their houses and how it might be similar to that addition you have always wanted? 

Some estimate that up to 80 percent of the world’s poor manage the process of building their homes themselves. This is certainly the case in Haiti — and most Haitians build their homes incrementally.

For example, in the Santo community, Habitat homeowners can build outbuildings to provide added space for their needs. Each family leverages their available resources to make improvements, when possible.

At least 80 percent of humanity lives on less than US$10 a day. With little cash to draw from, building a house room by room, one step at a time, is really the only practical method for most of the world.

Understanding this process and finding ways to support and facilitate it are the keys to helping the poor improve their homes and communities. Habitat uses multiple approaches, from full house solutions to repairs and renovations, from microfinance loans to construction training.