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A secure home makes a world of difference

In Vanuatu, we are helping families rebuild by training them on disaster resilient construction.

Simon, his wife Lomail, and their son Cassery live in the small village on the island of Ambrym, Vanuatu. Simon was one of the few people in his community who lived in a house made of concrete. Despite this, his home was not secure enough to withstand the devastating 250km/hr winds that Cyclone Pam unleashed on this small island and the rest of Vanuatu last year.

The cyclone left Simon with virtually nothing and his family had no choice but to live in a makeshift shelter of tarpaulin with temporary walls from the remnants of their old house. With the help of Habitat, however Simon received a shelter kit with wood, zinc sheet for roofing, timber for columns and beams and cyclone straps. Simon’s community also received a set of tools from Habitat that families in the community can borrow. The borrowing of tools operates like a toy library where community members can request use of a set of repair and construction tools. The rules for use of the tools are discussed and agreed by the community.

A year later, Simon and his family are now proud beneficiaries of a new home provided by Habitat. While many are still in the process of rebuilding, Simon, a carpenter by trade, was the first among his community to finish rebuilding his house using recycled materials from the remnants of his old home. He also attended Habitat’s Build Back Better training, to educate community members on how to build secure, disaster resilient homes.

“I think that I am a better carpenter and builder now as I understand better what is a good construction after the Build Back better teaching and practice sessions.  The additional skills I acquired from the training not only helped me get a better home, but has also improved my chances of getting construction contracts within the island. I am proud to contribute to the stock of quality housing in Ambrym.”

Read more

Cyclone Pam rebuilding and recovery could take two years
Cyclone Pam – assessing the aftermath

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