Our History

A Peek into our History


Established in 2008

Haven was established by Irish businessman, Leslie Buckley, and his wife, Carmel.  Having frequently travelled to Haiti on business since 2004, they decided to establish Haven after witnessing the poverty and many other challenges facing its people.


Organised first Build It Week in Ouanaminthe

We brought 273 Volunteers to Ouanaminthe on the first ever Build it Week, building 100 homes in one week for the local people.


Responded to earthquake

A devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on 12 January 2010, killing 217,000 people and leaving 2.1 million homeless.  In its aftermath, we quickly began providing emergency relief, focusing on sanitation and shelter in camps.


Began working with the community of Gonaïves

In 2010, we began a hugely successful community development programme in Gonaïves.  Read more about this programme here.


Opened Haven US office

Expanding our operations, we opened a United States (US) office in New York 2011.  Haven US actively fundraises and recruits volunteers in America for our programmes in Haiti.  Read more about Haven US .


Hosted first Haiti Week in Dublin

Launched by President Bill Clinton and attended by Haitian President Michael Martelly in 2012, Haiti Week has become an annual fundraising initiative in Ireland, raising well over €1 million for our work in Haiti.  Read more about Haiti Week here.


Ran first Volunteer Programme

Moving on from the enormously successful Build It Weeks, we held our first Volunteer Programme in 2012, bringing over 30 volunteers to work on sustainable development projects in Haiti.  You can sign up to volunteer with Haven here.


Began Île à Vache Upgrading Programme

One of our most ambitious projects began in 2014, with a promise to upgrade and repair over 2,000 homes on the island of Île à Vache by the end of December 2015.  Happily, we reached our goal! Find out more here.


Joined with Soul of Haiti

We assumed the management and administration of Soul of Haiti – another Irish non-profit working to empower the people of Haiti – on 1 January 2016, strengthening our impact on the ground together.  Read more about this here.


Responded to Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful hurricane to strike Haiti in over fifty years, struck in October 2016: 1.4 million people were left in urgent need of humanitarian aid.  Our team distributed 500,000 meals, 60,000 water-purifying tablets, 40,000 sachets of water and more in the following weeks.


When we established in 2008, our main focus was to provide shelter to families living in extreme poverty in Haiti.

We quickly moved to providing emergency relief in Port-au-Prince in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, becoming the second-largest provider of latrines in post-earthquake camps.  We also offered important hygiene promotion workshops, hygiene kits, community shelters, training and education, and cholera mitigation programmes.

Between 2010 and 2012, we organised a number of Build It Weeks, which brought hundreds of volunteers to Haiti to undertake considerable construction projects in local communities, including Ouanaminthe, Gonaïves, Gressier, Léogâne, and Île à Vache.  The first annual Volunteer Programme then launched in May 2012: over 1,400 volunteers from all over the world have travelled with us to Haiti since 2010. During this time, we opened our Haven US office.

As emergency recovery efforts began to take hold in the years following the earthquake, we started to look ahead, moving to a sustainable community development strategy which centres on building a bright, secure and independent future for the people of Haiti.  Each project – from hygiene promotion, housing upgrades, or sewing and boat-building – reflects our three core strategic areas: Water and Sanitation, training and education, and shelter.

In 2016, we assumed the management and administration of Soul of Haiti: pooling resources and combining skills, our impact on the ground in Haiti is only growing!