I'm starting to feel like I have a second home country - Haiti...
For the third trip in a row, I will be taking a team of design professionals to Haiti.
In September, I was with an EMI team in Léogâne designing a medical training facility. In February, I was with an EMI team in Grand Goâve designing a birthing centre, church, welcome centre and auto body shop. Now, I'll be heading to Cap Haitien with a new team to design "The Freedom Centre", in partnership with two organizations - Live Different and ASEEDH (Association Évangélique pour les Enfants Déminus Haïtiens - or -The Association for Poor Haitian Children).
The "restavek" system is a form of modern-day slavery that is unfortunately prevalent in Haiti today. Children, born to poor families, are sold or given away with the misconception that they will be provided a better life. Restavek children are often the first to wake up and the last to go to sleep; all day they cook meals, clean the home, and run errands. They may be required to sleep under the kitchen table and fend for scraps of food. There are currently 150,000 - 500,000 restavek children in Haiti, the majority of whom are girls who are particularly vulnerable to all forms of abuse.
Live Different and ASEEDH are partnering with EMI to design a home - The Freedom Centre - that will be used as a base for the rescue and transition of young girls in the worst restavek situations. They will be given food, education, counselling and learn basic life skills that they may have missed out on. They will be given the freedom that they have been waiting their whole lives for.
I am so excited to have the privilege of leading this project trip to Cap Haitien, and I can't wait to show you the design we come up with!
What happened in Grand Goâve...
It's been a while since I've sent out an update. For that, I apologize. 2018 has been a busy year. In addition to my normal responsibilities associated with directing our intern program, producing marketing material, and dealing with office IT, I have been working hard to finish and send out the final documents for our 2017 Rwanda project, as well as leading and working on the Grand Goâve project and, finally, planning the Cap Haitien project.
Our project in Grand Goâve was amazing. Haiti ARISE is a great ministry who are doing everything they can to serve people in the area. They have already built a medical clinic, a technical school, an elementary school and a children's village. They are now ready to start construction on their birthing centre - perhaps the most exciting part of the design we're working on for them. The UN has estimated that Haiti needs up to 80 birthing centres, but they currently have only 8 or 9. Haiti ARISE is addressing this need directly and quickly, and I'm grateful to be a part of it through this EMI team.
We also worked out designs for a welcome centre and fined-tuned plans for a large church and an auto body shop. Our civil engineers did some work to help remediate some flooding issues that Haiti ARISE was having in some of their existing buildings.
Below is just one of the renderings that our architects created (the big building in the middle is the church, the welcome centre is on the far left).
As always, thanks for reading and walking this journey with us. If you'd like to follow along with my trip to Cap Haitien (we'll be in Haiti June 2 - 10), follow me on Instagram (@bswab15). I'll post a few of those updates to Facebook as well.