Haitian proverb: Men anpil, chay pa lou. Many hands make light work.
Homes provide shelter from the elements. Homes in rural Haiti are made with the materials that are available on hand. Being resourceful, rural Haitians use stone and wood, make stucco from mud, and weave thatching from various plant materials to make shelters and homes for their families. Tin sheeting can sometimes be obtained. The homes often have one or two rooms, one of which may have an open fire for cooking. The floor is often dirt/earth. There is no running water or electricity available as utilities/infrastructure in rural Haiti.
Frequent hurricanes and heavy rains are quite destructive to these homes. Hurricane Matthew left a path of serious destruction through all four communities where Haiti H2O partners. The immediate needs of food and repairs to the community buildings, such as schools and churches, took priority. Haiti H2O can now apply funding to partner with the communities to care for its neighbors by repairing/replacing homes that were seriously damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flooding and weather events.
The Haiti H2O: Hope 2 Opportunity Model
Local Leadership: We partner with the local church in rural communities. In order to share responsibility and foster accountability, the church assembles a committee to oversee projects. The Many Hands Home Committee has 9 members that live in the community. This committee serves to identify and prioritize the home repair needs as well as provide accountability for the money given by Haiti H2O. The church will form a Haitian “konbit,” where the community works together to complete a project. This model promotes solidarity, not just charity, and empowers the local church to love its neighbors.
“Owner”-ship: Because we believe in giving a “hand up, not a hand out”, there is always a component of participation for those receiving assistance. Participation affirms the dignity of those receiving assistance, so that struggling with material poverty is not made worse by shame and feelings of helplessness.
Haiti H2O: Our staff works with the local committee to set an appropriate budget for the shelters that need repair or replacement. Our in-country staff assists with purchasing materials and sends progress reports on the status of each shelter repair.
U.S. Partners: Donors in the U.S. contribute funds that are tax-deductible and receive updates as homes are chosen to repair/rebuild and when the shelters are completed.