“Build Change did so much work on my house, I cannot even tell you … [they took care of] all those things I cannot do myself”Guerda CheryGuerda Chery is a homeowner from Carrefour Feuilles, Haiti. After the earthquake in 2010, Guerda was one of hundreds of thousands of people who had to leave her damaged house to live in a tent camp, with her husband and 3-month-old baby.
The unsanitary conditions of the camp meant her baby soon became sick. “The baby couldn’t breathe well. He had flu, fever, diarrhea … It was not easy to live in a tent,” Guerda recalled.
Guerda and her family faced a difficult choice: stay in the camp, or move back into their damaged and dangerous house. After finding a builder who claimed he could repair their home, they decided to risk returning to live at home. However, it quickly became clear that the work done by the builder would not be enough to keep them safe. “The builder repaired the cracks, but it was not done well at all and it cracked again,” Guerda explained.
Guerda heard about Build Change from a neighbor. Her house was assessed by engineers and it was eligible to be retrofitted. She decided to trust our trained engineers and builders. Through Build Change’s homeowner-driven approach, Guerda was encouraged to lead the construction process, from participating in the architectural design of the retrofit, to purchasing the building materials, hiring the builder, managing the subsidy budget and overseeing the building site.
“Build Change did so much work on my house, I cannot even tell you. They strengthened the cracked walls, replaced the columns that didn’t have a solid base, they built walls, the roof … all those things that I could not do myself.” When asked what she thought would happen to her home if another earthquake were to strike, she responded confidently, “Nothing at all. It’s very solid.”