International Day for Disaster Reduction 2012
Support Women & Girls - The inVisible Force of Resilience

October 12, 2012

Help Build Change Empower Women
for a Safer Tomorrow

Mirlande Overcomes Adversity and Creates Opportunity

In just seconds, Mirlande Joseph's house crumbled from the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. Her house was uninhabitable, so she and her niece had to live in a tent. The conditions were miserable, especially during the rains. 


Mirlande by her tent.
Mirlande's living quarters after
the earthquake in Haiti. 

Mirlande explains, "That's not a way to live.  Every time it rained, it was a major problem for my niece and me. As females, it was hard for us to shower and get dressed as we were out in the open. We didn't have access to a kitchen either. It was extremely difficult for us to live under the tent. That is why I finally decided that the time had come for me to do something to get us out of those horrible living conditions."


She decided to rebuild on a small parcel of land she owned. She didn't know much about proper housing construction techniques or what she would need. Fortunately, she met a Build Change engineer who told her about Build Change's technical assistance support services. These services would help her develop the skills she needed to oversee the reconstruction process to ensure she had a safe, earthquake-resistant house.

Build Change Empowers Mirlande to Rebuild Safely and Protect Her Family

Build Change taught Mirlande how to select a safe design and good-quality materials, how to monitor the construction process and how to properly dig for the house's foundation, lay blocks and bend rebar. By taking charge and overseeing the reconstruction process, Mirlande is confident she and her niece now live in a safe, earthquake-resistant house. She exclaims, "I've been enjoying this experience so much that I've been thinking about becoming a construction professional myself!"


Build Change teaches Mirlande about earthquake-safe construction techniques.
Build Change teaches Mirlande
about earthquake-safe
construction techniques.

Build Change understands the critical role women play in protecting and rebuilding their communities after disasters. Build Change not only empowers women to take control of the situation, but also promotes opportunities for women in developing countries to enter into good professional careers like engineering, construction, management and other technical professions.


Help Build Change Create More Opportunities for Women

With a gift to Build Change today, you can help support more women like Mirande be a visible force of resilience in protecting their communities from future disasters. Please donate now.

On behalf of Build Change, thank you for your support!


Elizabeth Hausler Strand

Founder and CEO


P.S. Please forward this message to your family, friends and co-workers so they, too, can help create opportunities for women in developing countries.








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About Build Change

Build Change is an international non-profit social enterprise that designs earthquake-resistant houses in developing countries and trains builders, homeowners, engineers, and government officials to build them. The organization works in partnership with the public and private sector to leave in place lasting change in construction practice after earthquakes.


Because of Build Change's design and capacity-building programs in post-earthquake reconstruction programs in Haiti, Indonesia and China, more than 80,000 people are living in safer houses.


About International Day for Disaster Reduction
The aim of International Day for Disaster Reduction 2012 is to acknowledge and appreciate the millions of women and girls who make their communities more resilient to disasters and climate risks and thus to reap the benefits of and protect their development investments. To learn more about International Day for Disaster Reduction - Women and Girls - the [in]Visible Force of Resilience", click here.