When a massive earthquake struck Haiti two years ago today, the damage was staggering. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and entire towns were reduced to rubble. In the wake of the destruction Architecture for Humanity stepped in to try and lend a hand in rebuilding the country in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Today they’ve reported that with help from outside organizations like the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund they’ve managed to help tens of thousands of Haitians with rebuilding efforts and have completed three clinics and four schools (with seven more in the construction phase) and provided 5,000+ builders with the Rebuilding Haiti 101 Manual, reaching the lives of over 50,000 Haitians with their efforts to date.
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Architecture for Humanity (AFH) is a design firm that seeks to “build a more sustainable future through the power of professional design.” The organization matches up their network of 50,000 professionals willing to lend time and expertise to communities that would otherwise not be able to afford professional design. Through the partnerships, design knowledge is shared and communities worldwide are able to build safe, sustainable and long-lasting structures to improve lives. AFH places a strong emphasis on communities learning the trades of design and construction so they can be empowered with the knowledge of safe and sustainable design in order to build their communities with their own hands.
In Haiti, poor construction methods were blamed for much of the destruction during the earthquake. Following the disaster, AFH created the Rebuilding 101 manual, a 35 page document that outlined basic information, principles and recommendations for a safe rebuilding process that was handed out to over 5,000 design professionals in Haiti in an effort to make sure that the buildings that were rebuilt wouldn’t topple in future natural disasters. In partnership with Students Rebuild AFH empowered youth to help rebuild schools in Haiti and through their efforts they’ve opened the doors of two new school buildings with three more to open shortly. AFH also created the Haiti Rebuilding Center where 37 architects, engineers and supporting staff are currently at work helping to create a long-term rebuilding strategy for the country. As with all of their projects, the plans that have helped to rebuild Haiti are available on AFH’s Open Architecture Network to be shared free of charge for people across Haiti to use for rebuilding efforts.
Through the work of Architecture for Humanity and their sponsors over the last two years, the people of Haiti can rest safe knowing that they are rebuilding their own country, structure by structure, in a safe and sustainable way for their future.