Oak Brook, Illinois, USA, January 10, 2011 – Six hundred families are moving into new homes, thanks to Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Lions around the world. These families lost everything on January 12, 2010, after the devastating 7.0 earthquake. Lions were among the first to offer help, providing food, water and shelter. One year later, Lions are still helping in Haiti.
In October, Renande Pierre-Louis and her family of seven moved from their Lions-provided tent into a new provisional home. Families living in the Lions’ tent cities will benefit through this project. View photos of these homes.
LCIF is working with HELP, a German non-governmental organization (NGO), to provide the homes. HELP has a 30-year history of providing humanitarian assistance. In nearly 20 countries around the world, the organization supports communities based on need. In Haiti, HELP is reconstructing homes for victims of the earthquake.
“The houses, earthquake and hurricane proof, will be built where the families were living before the earthquake,” said Pierre-Richard Duchemin of the Port-au-Prince Delmas Lions Club. “Renande Pierre-Louis, her husband and six children are the first beneficiaries.”
This is the first major project using resources from LCIF’s Haiti Earthquake fund that totals more than US$6.1 million in donations from Lions worldwide. In total, US$2 million will support the housing project. LCIF allocated US$1.4 million, Lions from Germany contributed US$696,250 and HELP is providing administrative costs.
To identify beneficiaries, Lions and HELP surveyed each camp to find people with the greatest need to relocate. Once homes are complete, beneficiaries will receive basic furniture for their houses. In addition, latrines and other essentials will be provided for the community.
At this time, a limited number of NGOs are supporting provisional housing, even though there is a considerable need. The 600 homes significantly add to the number of provisional houses in Haiti, as only 5,000 have been built to date. Still, nearly 225,000 are needed. The end goal is to shift all people living in Lions’ tents to provisional housing.
Lions and LCIF have had a strong presence in Haiti since the earthquake. Within hours of the quake, LCIF received unprecedented interest from people worldwide who wanted to help.
“Lions’ response to rebuilding Haiti is truly incredible,” said Eberhard J. Wirfs, Chairperson of Lions Clubs International Foundation. “Following the earthquake, Lions gave generously to support relief efforts and remain committed to providing hope moving forward.”
A US$50,000 Major Catastrophe Grant was awarded immediately. Lions in the Dominican Republic collected goods and used LCIF funds to purchase relief supplies including medical aid, food and clean drinking water.
Three tent cities in the Port-au-Prince neighborhoods of Delmas, Blanchard and Carrefour-Feuille were established to house people who lost their homes. Nearly 2,500 people still reside in these establishments. The tent cities have become communities in a sense, providing essential needs for the people living there. All of them have a market to sell and buy goods, a worship space and a clinic that provides medical care.
Lions leaders and LCIF staff have visited the area several times, most recently in September 2010, to help in developing long-term plans and assess ongoing needs. Other projects are currently being reviewed. Additionally, the Lions of Haiti have formed a committee of Lions leaders for Haiti, Dominican Republic and neighboring countries to oversee the reconstruction efforts.
LCIF is leveraging Lions' donations through collaboration with other NGOs and corporations committed to rebuilding Haiti. The International Organization of Migration provided supplies and assistance to Lions camps. LCIF also partnered with the shipping company, Maersk, and the World Food Program, to ship tents donated by Lions of Sweden and food donated by the World Food Program, to Haiti free of charge. The Foundation continues discussions with other organizations to partner on projects in Haiti.
Moving forward, LCIF remains committed to rebuilding Haiti. Projects will be implemented over the long-term and additional projects are currently being reviewed. Similar to other disasters, Lions hope to rebuild homes and hospitals, redevelop the eye care delivery system, and provide help for those with disabilities, including those disabled because of this disaster.
“The Haitian Lions Relief and Reconstruction Committee, working jointly with all the Haitian Lions clubs and LCIF, has a strategic approach to give a much bigger dimension to our efforts and to LCIF funds,” said Duchemin.
Restoring hope to Haitians will offer them a better future, much like Pierre-Louis and her family. LCIF is dedicated to restoring this hope for years to come, and this is made possible through the generous support of the Lions international family.
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Lions Clubs International Foundation is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world with 1.35 million members in 207 geographic areas and countries. LCIF awards nearly US$2 million annually for Lions-led disaster relief efforts. Last year alone, relief efforts helped 118,050 people following disasters. LCIF was ranked by a Financial Times' study as the number one non-governmental organization with which to partner. Contribute at www.lcif.org/donate.