Housing charity for Haiti beats targets

AN Irish charity building houses in Haiti has said it has exceeded its targets in the impoverished country despite the destruction wrought by the hurricane last winter.

Haven published its first annual report since its foundation in January 2009 and said it was oversubscribed for two fundraising Build It weeks later this year.

In rural haiti Haven has built 300 new houses and upgraded 500 others, while the emergency response in the capital city Port au Prince to the disastrous earthquake resulted in 600 transitional shelters and 1,300 latrines being fitted.

The charity was set up by businessman, Leslie Buckley, and his wife Carmel and counts Denis O’Brien among its board members.

The earthquake of January 12 left more than 230,000 people dead and 1.3 million people homeless.

Anne Maguire of Haven said the recession had not impacted on its fundraising capabilities as Irish people had been “extraordinarily generous”.

The charity is holding two Build It weeks in October to cater for demand, with 600 people in total set to travel to Haiti having each raised €4,500.

“We have also raised €5.2m in the last six months,” she said.

The donors’ list includes the American Red Cross, Plan International, UNICEF and Gorta.

The charity is in the process of building 600 houses in Port au Prince thanks to help from the American Red Cross and Plan International, and Haven will have a further 200 houses constructed in rural areas by the end of the year.

Another 200 houses are being built on the outskirts of Port au Prince in conjunction with a local NGO, Fonkoze. Another 177 properties will undergo repairs.

The charity stressed that it was also providing training to those who will be accessing the houses to ensure the sustainability of the communities in which they live.

The annual report shows that Haven had €2.3m in incoming resources in 2009, around half of which came from Build It week donations, and expended €2.1m in resources, leaving it with total funds of €169,209 at the end of the year, the majority of which was in the form of unrestricted funds (€159,690).


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