April 6, 2009
Port-au-Prince, Haiti—Habitat for Humanity Haiti celebrated the importance of volunteerism by hosting a day of community construction in the municipality of Cabaret . Habitat staff and board members, local students, a local Christian youth group, Haitian businesses, representatives of the U.S. Embassy, and individual community members totalizing over 200, all gathered at the “Ti Place” build site to put their hands to work.
The volunteers transported materials, mixed cement and laid concrete blocks for two new homes at the Ti Place build site, within the Disaster Response  program framework. They also had an opportunity to “experiment” on a third home, using a new adobe “earth bag” construction technology.
Throughout the next three years, Habitat’s Disaster Response  program aims to provide 1,000 new complete houses and 1,500 home rehabilitations in three departments of Haiti: Artibonite, (Gonaives); West, (Cabaret) and Plateau Central, (Hinche).
More than construction
However, work was not the only activity on the agenda. Habitat Haiti staff took some time to speak to the group about the housing need in Haiti, explaining that the country currently has a deficit of over one million homes. Severe damage caused by hurricanes has worsened the situation, and the risk of future storms creates further vulnerability. The volunteers also learned about Habitat Haiti’s effort to respond to the country’s housing needs—namely through disaster preparedness, mitigation and response programs, as well as through Building and Training Centers.
Participants also had an opportunity to visit Bercy, a Habitat “village in progress” in Cabaret, already hosting more than 150 Habitat partner residents.
For the vast majority of people participating in the event, this was their first time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Haiti. When asked about their experience, one volunteer said, “It was very fun—working together with friends and helping the community.” When asked if they would participate again in the future many volunteers responded that they would definitely come out again.
Photos and story courtesy of Jean Joseph Sanon, Habitat for Humanity Haiti
For more information, visit: Habitat for Humanity Haiti