The earthquake in Haiti was absolutely devastating, taking lives and destroying the lives of those who survived it. Many ended up living in tents when their homes were destroyed. This was the case of Dilon, the construction worker featured in this video. But then Dilon was part of a team of construction workers who learned new skills and began building houses for people in their area.
Dilon not only built the houses, but he was also the recipient of one of them. So now he and his coworkers have homes and a steady income, which allows them to buy the things they need and boost the economy in their community.
While donating supplies and help from outside of the community can make a major difference and does save lives and livelihoods, it is not a permanent solution. Eventually, the rescue organizations will leave to move on to the next disaster, leaving these communities to fend for themselves. If they don’t have the resources and skills that they need in order to do so, they will end up in very difficult situations.
However, if groups focus on building up skills and jobs within the community as well, this provides the members of the community with an advantage. They can use those skills and jobs to support themselves and their families. The money they earn is then spent within the community, boosting the incomes of those around them as well. Instead of relying on the kindness of strangers, they are able to rely on themselves and their neighbors, all of whom know what they need better than outsiders would. There is dignity in being able to support themselves and pull themselves into better situations without having to rely on charity.
For this group, they were literally able to build their own houses, then build houses for the people they know and love. It is personal for them and improves not just their lives, but the lives of their friends and families.
Having a job and an income transforms a person’s life. Whether it is something like installing a residential garage door or building the walls of the house, this works makes a concrete, immediate difference in people’s lives. There is now a house for them to live in.
And the person who built that house receives money that they can use for themselves. This leaves the community healthier and allows charity money to go toward other goals and causes.