Friday, July 2, 2010

Habitat para la Humanity

Our Habitat project this year is some good times and then some. We´ve had a great time working with the community building homes. As we´ve stated before, the Habitat project this year is in a place called San Vicente, a community that was destroyed last year by the tropical storm Ida has had a rougher year than normal. Complete livelihoods have been washed away by major mudslides and hundreds of families are homeless.

The project in San Vicente is to build homes for those affected by storm Ida, and the wonderful thing about it is that the entire community falls under Habitat for Humanities rare fully-subsidized programs. Most families who receive homes must pay a monthly payment until they´ve covered a certain portion or all of the cost of the home, but these community members are required only to invest "sweat equity," or labor and manpower to help with the build. In this way we are able to work directly with the families who will be living in the homes!

One awesome thing we were able to do this past week was tour the Santa Ana build site that the 2009 HELP International team worked on. The site is practically finished, and there are families and gardens already occupying the spaces that our dedicated volunteers spent hours and days working on last year.

We´ve come to learn that Habitat for Humanity is starting to steer away from their previous "One House, One Family" model, and has begun community projects. We couldn´t have been happier when we met with our local contacts at the beginning of the summer to hear this. Most Habitat projects not only work to achieve an entire community of homes in a central area, but also include community centers, daycare facilities, and other community oriented build projects to improve the quality of life of those who will be moving in.

Here´s the already functional children´s community center/day care for the Santa Ana project from 2009. It truly is inspiring to see such beautiful and wonderful facilities that HELP volunteers were a large part of.

Brian Lunt, 2010 Habitat Project lead and Gail Chadwin, National Volunteer Coordinator

We look forward to seeing this year´s project progress and begin to bless the lives of salvadoran families in a permanent way.

In other Habitat for Humanity news, Tyler Nelson ( of the Country Directors) and Brian Lunt (the Habitat project lead) have been working with Gail on coordinating a First Aid/Basic EMT training for Habitat masons and volunteer coordinators. We look forward to reporting on a succesful workshop in the next few weeks.


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