"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive...then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Howard Thurman

Sunday, January 30, 2011


T-shelters are transitional shelters.  They are meant to get people out of camps and back into their original neighborhood. For people that remained on their land but are living in tents, it provides more stability and security. They are designed and built to last from 2-5 years, hopefully holding up until a permanent option is found.  With land ownership rights still a work in progress at higher levels, t-shelters are considered "furniture", meaning if we build for someone that ultimately isn't the legal property owner they can take the materials and leave.  Because documentation of land ownership is not available in most cases, we work with neighbors to get verification.

I have been leading an amazing team of 49 employees that are finding the land where we can build,locating the families that own or can rent the property, and then writing applications and contracts.  It has been very rewarding to watch them gain confidence, find their voices and work together as a well run machine.  The neighborhoods are so tightly packed it becomes a puzzle with houses that need to be torn down, piles of rubble from people that have demolished their houses and in between it all are tiny parcels of land that they find.

The construction team started building almost two weeks ago and they are steadily making progress.  Over 60 families are now moved into their new homes.

Coordination between organizations providing the same services is almost a full time job.  With 100,000 families in need of t-shelters we are working hard to create a better map and stop working in the same neighborhoods.  Right now we seem to be writing contracts with the same families. 

Training my new team on site

Classroom Training

More on site training.

Our first T-shelter family - mom declined the photo opportunity.

As neighbors see the opportunity for a new home they begin clearing their rubble.

The rubble is taken to the street where a partner organization of ours takes it away.

Some of my team leaders - Marco, Magloire and Jeanel.

A team gets paperwork together for another family.

Immacula interviews a family.

When we have houses that need to be torn down, like the one shown here, we partner with another organization to bring in heavy equipment.  It helps to make the neighborhood safer and provides space for more T-shelters and hopefully soon, permanent housing.

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