A tree fell on my house. I was supposed to die,” Lawrence said. Living in the worst disaster-hit region in the world, he was thankful to survive Cyclone Pam when it hit Fiji in 2015.
Others like Judith and Paul (right) lost nearly everything in the end-2019 bushfire in New South Wales, Australia. “We have been self-sufficient on this property and we have lived that life for 50 years. Our whole lifestyle has been destroyed, not just the house, but all the sheds, all the tools, all the animals died in the fire. It’s been a real tragedy,” says Judith.
Some of those affected by disasters want to lend a hand. “I just move slower now, but I can still help,” says Romeo (second from left) who rebuilt his home after Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, one of the strongest trropical cyclones on record.
Ganga took it a step further after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. “Through Habitat’s PASSA program, I learned that the house I tried to build did not meet the national building standard. I underwent skilled masonry training with Habitat. With new skills and knowledge on hand, I started building my new house,” he says.
Whether it’s a natural disaster or a pandemic, you are there.
And we are right beside you.
“Immediately after the earthquake, my first instinct was to serve the people who have lost everything and were badly affected,” says Sujata. A staff member of Habitat Nepal, she was attending a function with her family when the devastating earthquake struck in 2015.
“There are many vulnerable people with varied needs, especially women and children living in remote, disaster-prone areas. Being part of Habitat Vietnam’s disaster response projects means having the opportunity to help these vulnerable people overcome difficulties and rebuild their lives post-disaster,” says Yen Nguyen who has been involved with disaster responses since 2009.
“When we respond to a disaster, we deal with the community, the people, the survivors. Our work is all about people. We listen to them and try our best to address their needs,” says Andreas Hapsoro (in Habitat t-shirt), Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific disaster response specialist.
“I looked back upon my life and realized that it had been so good...The direction moving forward was clear — just give back. Give back to society, give back to the community,” says Chunhui Sim, Habitat Singapore’s Project HomeWorks program manager. She helped cleaned homes when volunteers were not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Thank you, Habitat, for giving us this opportunity to be part of a life-changing project, bringing relief to families affected by disasters,” says Niroshan who volunteered with Habitat Sri Lanka for its response to 2017’s Cyclone Mora.
“The loss of lives and infrastructure in Kerala has been so massive that the entire country needs to come together to Rebuild Kerala,” actress Jacqueline Fernandez (wearing helmet) and Habitat India’s brand ambassador.
“I get a huge amount out of volunteering. I really feel like I can give back to the community,” says Carly, a volunteer for the 2019 New South Wales bushfire response in Australia.
“My family was involved in rebuilding this house and helped with everything from the foundation to the roof,” says Niru who built a new home with Habitat after 2015 Nepal earthquake.
“I’m very grateful for this place and for the people who have helped me stand on my feet after the disaster,” says Sarlina. She rebuilt her home and life after the 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia.
All thanks to our #RealLifeHeroes.
We can build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.