With your help, one of our partners has been able to educate more young people in Haiti and provide food and health care to those in need. Now, they’re looking to transform more lives with new homes, and you can be a part of that.
Friends of Matènwa – which works to improve the community of Matènwa, Lagonav in Haiti, primarily though its hands on Community Learning Center – is up for a $150,000 USAID grant to further their project to build sustainable housing in the community. The awardee will be determined via voting at investortank.org. You can cast a ballot through Sunday, October 31.
Following a model created to rebuild homes after natural disasters, Friends of Matènwa is hoping to use the grant money to build 24 affordable ecobrick houses, as well as improve agricultural opportunities and address waste management in their community. Waste management goes hand-in-hand with the homes, as they’re constructed with ecobricks, which are plastic bottles packed with more plastic.
These bricks are are set in place with mortar and framed with iron bars that tie the base, corners, middle, and top of the house together. This makes them earthquake resistant, which is essential in a country that has seen severe damage in recent quakes. The homes also include garden plots and water access, which can be hard to come by.
Chris Low, Friends of Matènwa’s executive director, explains, “There is no running water, so having a home with a rain water catchment system gives a family the ability to grow a vegetable garden next to their house. In a place where the majority of children only get one meal every one or two days, this is vital.”
Once the homes are constructed, the hope is that this will allow graduates of Friends of Matènwa’s community school to remain in the area and thrive.
Low says, “When Greater Good interviewed our junior high students, Greater Good asked them what they dreamed for. They said they wanted to graduate from high school at the Matènwa Community Learning Center. Greater Good has made that dream come true. Three sets of students have completed high school here because of Greater Good funding. Now what are their dreams? To stay and work in the community they grew up in. Without affordable homes to purchase, many youth either live with their parents and grandparents or try to leave the country. This program gives them access to housing and growing their own food.”
The organization says that the average household in rural Haiti packs eight people together, and often, these homes are not sturdy due to cost cutting measures. That makes them all the more vulnerable when disasters like an earthquake occur.
Building sturdy and sustainable homes is just one way to improve the lives of rural Haitians, something that the organization already focuses on with its community learning center. This is an institution GreaterGood CEO Tim Kunin says is visionary.
Kunin says, “It is one of the only schools in Haiti to teach literacy in Creole – the language people actually speak – rather than French. Learning to read in a foreign language is immensely more difficult than learning to read in your native tongue. It is also the only Haitian school I’ve visited which trains teachers and team teaches.
“They are trying to rework the entire education system in Haiti, which is a level of hubris I find exceptionally exciting. I was honored to have attended the first graduation of the upper school; and was impressed by the graduates, which is the reason we have expanded our support over time.”
Kunin says he is excited to support Friends of Matènwa’s effort to address the housing crisis in Haiti.
If you’d like to support it, too, vote for Friends of Matènwa here!
To learn more about the project, watch the video below.Whizzco