Volunteers Dec. 19, 2018

Building with families in the Dominican Republic

Through the "Building it Together for Families" project, we partnered with Habitat for Humanity Dominican Republic to change the lives of 36 families in the San Juan and Azua provinces through housing. Both provinces have been identified by the government as priority areas because of the high levels of poverty among its residents. The types of houses found in these areas are often dilapidated and unsafe, either made with plated zinc roofs sustained with wood walls or sticks, palm leaves and dirt. Most of the houses do not have sanitation facilities. Families in these areas earn small incomes from agriculture, fishing, and forestry or service industries such as food shops and clothes stores.

The Habitat homes constructed for this project are innovative, prefabricated homes that are lower cost than other models. Because the houses can be constructed faster than traditional homes, there are significant savings in labour costs which help make these homes more affordable for families on low incomes.

The prefabricated homes are manufactured off­site in advance, in standard sizes and sections that can be easily transported and assembled, allowing families to invest in quality materials with a faster construction time. Habitat for Humanity Canada's Global Village volunteers worked hard on this project, helping with the construction and assembling of prefabricated homes and ensuring that families like Brenda and Livio could quickly move in and enjoy their new safe and affordable homes.

Brenda and Livio have been living in their Habitat home with their two boys for three years now. The house they previously lived in was inadequate and unsafe – Livio was making rental payments on what was essentially a shack.

“Now I pay less, and it’s for something that’s mine,” he says. “My children are able to learn better in school now. Thanks to Habitat, I’m living a better life with more peace of mind.”

Brenda, too, credits her ability to work at a pharmacy while studying primary education at a university in Santo Domingo to her Habitat home. “Now that I go to the university, I feel happy. My life has changed. I feel that I’ve achieved one of the most important things by owning my own home.”