Building Houses in Haiti

By Lisa Wooldridge:

I recently had the opportunity to join President and Mrs. Carter in Léogâne, Haiti,, Haiti, for Habitat for Humanity’s 28th annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project November 6-12.

During the weeklong build, 500 volunteers from around the world helped to build 100 homes in partnership with earthquake-affected families in Léogâne, Haiti,, a city 18 miles west of Port-au-Prince and near the epicenter of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12, 2010.

After the devastating earthquake in 2010, I wrote to Habitat and asked them if I could volunteer, and I was thankful to finally have that opportunity. Working alongside my fellow volunteers and the families that will live in the houses was one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done.

The build took place in the Santo community where Habitat will build a total of 150 core houses this year. An additional 100 houses will be built on the site in 2012. The community will ultimately house 500 families displaced by the 2010 earthquake.

Each volunteer had to commit to raise $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity in order to participate in the project. As of December 20th, I have raised $4,285, and I hope to reach my $5,000 goal by January 1. More than a dozen businesses, as well as friends and family, have donated already. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to support my pledge, click

Describing their work in Haiti, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford said, “Habitat for Humanity has made a five-year commitment to serve 50,000 Haitian families, and the Carter Work Project will help us to build homes and raise awareness to meet that goal. We are incredibly appreciative of the Carters and all the volunteers, sponsors and partners who are joining with us to help families in Haiti rebuild their lives.”

The Carters are Habitat for Humanity’s most famous volunteers. Each year they give a week of their time to help Habitat build, renovate, or repair homes and raise awareness about the need for affordable and decent housing. They joined Habitat for Humanity in 1984 to help renovate a decaying building in New York City’s Lower East Side. Today, the building is part of a thriving, reinvigorated, and dynamic community. Since that first build, the Carters and thousands of volunteers have worked with Habitat for Humanity across the United States and in Mexico, Canada, Hungary, South Africa, South Korea, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Laos, and Vietnam.

The Carters aren’t the only high-profile volunteers helping to rebuild Haiti; while I was there I also got to meet singer-songwriting duo Garth Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood, who were also in Haiti volunteering.

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