It’s always encouraging to see a tangible result of our donors’ generosity, especially in a place like Haiti that is in such desperate need of good news. One of those tangible results is the construction of two new girls’ dorms at Pwoje Espwa (Project Hope), an orphanage led by Father Marc Boisvert in southern Haiti.
We’ve brought you some photos of the successfully completed dorms, which include bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and shower facilities, and a courtyard area for group activities, and are designed to house a total of eight girls comfortably in each structure. While they may look like traditional cement-block Haitian houses, the new dorms are actually made of metal and are specially designed to resist earthquakes, hurricanes, fire, termites, and 96 percent of the sun’s heat!
Cross Catholic chose to sponsor the project after it became apparent that, with more orphaned and vulnerable girls needing shelter since the earthquake, the houses the girls had been living in were becoming too crowded. But the benefits of this project extend beyond the need for shelter. We are also creating jobs. Thirty local youths and community members were trained and placed on the construction team to build these and other similar houses in partnership with Shelter2Home, which developed the unique metal design.
Unemployment in Haiti has always been a big problem, but has become an even greater crisis since the earthquake destroyed much of the local economy. Many Haitians feel ashamed to have to beg for food for their families, and they are waiting for opportunities such as this to restore their dignity. As Cross Catholic President Jim Cavnar put it bluntly, “We’ve got a million people in tents and no jobs.”
Our goal is to solve both problems: getting Haitians out of tents and ending joblessness. Haiti’s recovery has been a slow process, but we take hope in the small victories that are being achieved every day through our mission partners such as Pwoje Espwa and Shelter2Home, who are rebuilding what was lost and helping families move forward with their lives.