Haven was established in 2009 by Irish businessman Leslie Buckley and his wife Carmel. The Buckley’s had travelled to Haiti on business since 2004 and were appalled at the level of poverty Haitians faced on a daily basis. Deciding that they must do something to help Haitians escape this life of poverty, they set up Haven.
When the 2010 earthquake hit Haiti, Haven quickly moved away from being a house building organisation to a relief organisation. Haven focused on their strengths in the emergency response becoming members of both the Shelter and WASH cluster. Haven quickly became the second largest provider of latrines in post earthquake camps and trained community health workers to teach people living in the camps about the importance of health and safety and water and sanitation.
In brief, throughout Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps in Port-au-Prince Haven provided:
- Hygiene Promotion Workshops
- Shower Cubicles
- Hygiene Kits
- Community Shelters
- Cholera Mitigation
- Training and Employment
To date Haven has already built and upgraded 2,329 homes and has trained over 65,809 Haitians in both vocational trainings and community development matters.
- Hygiene Promotion
- Workshops on Gender, Domestic Violence and Self-Esteem
- Workshops on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Workshops on Disaster Management and Prevention
- Workshops on Democracy, Leadership and Conflict Resolution
- Youth Engagement and Empowerment
- Conflict Resolution
- Family Planning
- Community Health Workers
- Adult Literacy
- Finance Management
- Boat Building
- and many more...
In 2011, Haven expanded its operations and opened an office in the US. Haven is actively fundraising and recruiting volunteers from the States. More information on this arm of Haven can be found at Haven US.
Many of Haven’s projects continued into 2012 from 2011 as well as some new ones starting. In Gonaives, Haven helped 60 women receive sewing training and is currently looking into potential partnerships with local businesses where the women will be able to sell their produce. Haven also started in Boat Building courses where local fishermen where not only taught how to make boats but also taught how to be the trainers. Haven has a history of working closely with the local in Gonaives and established a community development committee which helped source resources and funding for a primary school in 2012.
In Grassier in 2012, Haven began construction on a community centre. The centre is currently at roof level and is expected to be completed by February 2013.
In Léogâne Habitat for Humanity contracted Haven to construct 36 houses in the local area. These houses will home families that lost everything in the 2010 earthquake. The houses were completed in January 2013.
In Port- au- Prince Haven continued to repair homes that were damaged by the 2010 earthquake and teamed up with other local and international NGOs to construct a model home where locals were invited to come and observe the construction methods. Houses are designed and constructed is a way that makes them earthquake and hurricane resistant. Short films of the construction process are also being made to share with other communities and agencies. Community development projects in Port au Prince also continued in 2012. Haven has restored a local football pitch which was used as an IDP camp in 2010. The pitch will be handed back to the community upon completion in January 2013.
2012 also saw the last of the original Build It Week structures. Haven held two Build It Weeks in 2012. The first was to Ile a Vache in May where 45 volunteers where we worked on community based projects including repairs to local schools, a landing bay for boats and community recreation facilities. On the 23rd of November 94 Haven volunteers joined Habitat for Humanity volunteers in Léogâne where a further 100 homes were built for locals who lost everything during the 2010 earthquake which destroyed 80% of the buildings in the region.