6,300 People in Haiti Living in Safe, Permanent Homes


December 28, 2012
You've heard about the challenges in Haiti. Now here's a success story. 


Build Change has worked with 1,170 earthquake-displaced families to complete new or retrofitted permanent homes, enabling more than 6,300 people to live in a safe, secure home.


Gerald learns an important lesson.

Gerald stands proudly in front of his safe, permanent, earthquake-resistant house.

Prior to the earthquake, Gerald borrowed money to build a third floor on his house, which he intended to rent. When the earthquake struck, the top two stories collapsed because they were too heavy, crushing his leg and leaving a badly damaged ground floor. 

Build Change evaluated his house and determined it could be retrofitted. Gerald then worked with Build Change to design a house that met his needs. Gerald contributed his own funds to the project and managed the two-story retrofit under the supervision of Build Change engineers. By working with Build Change, Gerald now understands that he shouldn't build a third story on his house. "Its weight was too heavy! That is why it collapsed and why I Iost my leg," he asserts.

We still have work to do. 

While this is great progress, there are still more than 350,000 people in Haiti who need a permanent home.


With your support, we will expand our technical-assistance program to achieve 1,500 homes retrofitted or built new to minimum standards for earthquake safety every six months until the reconstruction program is completed - helping the thousands still homeless after the earthquake get into permanent housing safely, cost effectively and with better results. We will also continue our train-the-trainer programs, mentoring other organizations to do the same and reaching thousands more with safe housing solutions.



Our homeowner-driven approach enables thousands. 

Using a homeowner-driven approach, Build Change has also:

A Build Change engineer trains a local builder about safe building techniques. 
  • Trained more than 1,600 homeowners in safe construction practice and given advice about purchasing good-quality construction materials and supervising the retrofit or new construction of their house
  • Trained more than 700 builders in earthquake-resistant design and construction, including practical and on-the-job training 
  • Provided technical assistance for more than 1,200 retrofits and new construction 
  • Provided technical assistance for the retrofit or rebuild of more than 60 retaining walls, which were critical in the dense urban neighborhoods with unsafe slopes
  • Mentored 60 small- and medium-sized block makers in improving the quality of concrete blocks and creating a market for those blocks
  • Trained 57 government engineers on retrofitting solutions for low-rise buildings, several of whom have been supervising and inspecting housing reconstruction and retrofitting
  • Developed a Haiti-wide retrofit guideline, which soon will be published and distributed by the Haitian government to impact thousands more houses with earthquake-resistant design and construction


We would like to warmly thank our major partners Cordaid, J/P HRO, Degenkolb, Save the Children, Liechtenstein Red Cross, Hilti Foundation and CAFOD, without whom such a large-scale impact on the reconstruction of Haiti would not have been possible.


Build Change trains homeowners on how to manage the reconstruction process.

We need your help.

Please help us create long-term, sustainable change in construction practice in Haiti.

  • Donate to Build Change to ensure families in Haiti have safe, permanent housing.
  • Spread the word! Tell your friends, families and co-workers about the lasting change Build Change is creating in Haiti.
  • Advocate for homeowner-driven post-disaster housing reconstruction. Proven in Indonesia, China and Haiti, we know this approach works in creating permanent behavior change in construction practice so once our work is complete, local communities will continue to build earthquake-safe houses. Learn more: Build Back Better and Primer on Post-Disaster Housing Reconstruction .

Thank you for you continued support, and best wishes to you for a peaceful, prosperous New Year!


Elizabeth Hausler Strand

Founder and CEO

Build Change


P.S. If you are considering a year-end, tax-deductible donation, do it now by clicking here. It's fast and easy!


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via Universal Giving. Use your credit card or Paypal account.  Note that a service fee is charged by Paypal. 

Send your check, payable to Build Change to:
Build Change 
1416 Larimer St., Suite 301
Denver, CO 80202



With technical assistance from Build Change, Gerald now has a safe, permanent, earthquake-resistant house. 


Gerald comments, "I would like to simply say 'Thank you, Build Change.'"


Donate now to ensure more families have safe, permanent housing.

About Build Change

Founded in 2004, 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.