President David Snell: Haitian families need your hand-up in partnership for successful long-term recovery

(Photo of earthquake damage in southwest Haiti provided by Geral Joseph, director of The Fuller Center for Housing of Pignon, Haiti)

President David Snell: Haitian families need your hand-up in partnership for successful long-term recovery

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Haiti once again has been brought to its knees by a natural disaster, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that has killed hundreds of Haitian and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes, particularly in the area of Les Cayes, about 95 miles west of Port-au-Prince.

The Fuller Center plans to be a housing partner in the long days of recovery ahead — something with which we now have more than a decade of experience in Haiti.

The Fuller Center for Housing began working in Haiti not long after a 7.0-magnitude quake struck the poverty-stricken nation in 2010. More than 70 homes were built in the Croix-des-Bouquets area east of Port-au-Prince, and dozens more Fuller Center homes constructed west of the capital city, including the 56-home Lambi Village community.

The success caught the eye of Geral Joseph, who proposed bringing The Fuller Center to his town of Pignon, about 60 miles north of Port-au-Prince in central Haiti. This man of few words let his work do the talking, and Pignon has become a model of how partnership housing can uplift families and communities. Today, after the construction of more than 250 permanent homes, homeowners’ repayments are now funding some of the new builds. The more we build now, the more we can build in the years to come.

Haiti’s Geral Joseph volunteers at the 2019 Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Lee County, Alabama, building homes as part of The Fuller Center’s tornado recovery efforts.

We got in touch with Geral this morning. He was assessing the situation on the ground in the impacted areas west of Port-au-Prince and described the situation as devastating — with many injuries, loss of life and rubble everywhere.

However, he said The Fuller Center homes and families of Pignon are safe and sound. We thank God for their safety and for the continued success of our ministry there.

The Fuller Center is not a disaster relief organization, but we are focused on long-term recovery. We help families rebuild their lives well after the spotlight has turned to disasters elsewhere. With your support, we will again answer calls to help in Haiti.

Meanwhile, our operation in Pignon has set the standard for helping Haitians help themselves. It is a healthy, empowered community — a far cry from the overcrowded slums of Port-au-Prince, where decades of well-meaning handouts have exacerbated the very poverty conditions they hoped to alleviate.

The more we build in Pignon, the more we demonstrate how providing a hand-up in partnership that uplifts and empowers is far more beneficial to families and communities than handouts.

A typical Fuller Center home in Pignon, Haiti

The immediate aftermath of this disaster is an emergency that calls for the work of disaster relief operations. But long-term recovery provides an opportunity for The Fuller Center and supporters like you to expand our uplifting ministry model and show other groups how they can be more effective by learning from our enlightened partnership model.

The present calls for us to help Haitians immediately. The future calls for us to help Haitians help themselves — by partnering with them and extending a hand-up that they will, in turn, extend to generations to come.

In Christian partnership,

David Snell, President, The Fuller Center for Housing


Donate to the Disaster Recovery Fund


In 2019, Geral Joseph (left) came from Pignon, Haiti, to Lee County, Alabama, to take part in The Fuller Center’s tornado recovery efforts. Here, he takes a moment to chat with homeowner partner Gina Johnson in Opelika. We can return the favor now as Geral’s nation needs our helping hand after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday.

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