Initiative is part of a plan to address housing needs after Hurricane Maria’s destruction.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) office in Dominica handed keys for a home to the Hypolite family of five in the village of La Plaine during a special ceremony on January 31.
The family had been living in a temporary shelter by their property after Hurricane Maria destroyed their home and hundreds of other homes and buildings in 2017. The category 5 hurricane killed dozens of people, damaged roads and bridges, and left residents with harsh living conditions.
More than 37 families have been assisted with repairs on their homes thanks to assistance from ADRA partners and the church, ADRA Dominica director Pricilla Prevost said.
“This present project is the first of four homes to be completed with funds from ADRA United Kingdom and the East Caribbean Conference,” she said. The Hypolite family has been a special case, Prevost said. ADRA Dominica was happy to assist the family with 50 percent of the cost of the existing structure. “The Hypolite family prepared and funded the foundation and the lower structure on which the house stands and provided blocks for the main structure,” she said.
“While significant development has taken place in the country, visible to locals and visitors alike, some people are still grappling with the impact of that major disaster,” Prevost said. “Since the major need, post-Hurricane Maria, was housing, ADRA mounted a rebuild project in three phases. This handing over is part of the third phase, which is rebuild and repairs, funded by ADRA UK and the East Caribbean Conference.
From 2018 to 2019, ADRA Dominica embarked on a reroofing and repair program through local funding partnerships with other organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Red Cross, Rotary International, the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in the U.S., and the church’s South Caribbean Conference, South Leeward Conference, and East Caribbean Conference.
Alexander Isaacs, ADRA director for the Caribbean Union Conference, said, “It has been a very exciting period for ADRA in Dominica, especially when we have been able, through this intervention, to make a significant difference to people’s lives, and to help them strengthen their resilience to natural disasters.”
Moving vulnerable families into better dwellings has given residents security and comfort and a better way of life, said Anthony Hall, president of the East Caribbean Conference, which oversees the church in Dominica. “There are still many challenges, and we have a long way to go in our work to reach out to vulnerable and marginalized households, but we are working on it.”
Attendees at the special ceremony included dozens of supporters, family, friends, volunteers, local church leaders, the La Plaine Village Council leaders, and the architect.
ADRA Dominica is currently overseeing the work on a structure in the village of Portsmouth, and another home is scheduled to be built in the village of Marigot, according to Prevost. “The design of the home structures prioritizes sustainability; the homes are built with a resilient, concrete roof, three bedrooms, and related amenities,” she said.
“We are stronger together,” Hall said. “This is more evident than ever as ADRA Dominica, the local Adventist churches, and many other supporters and partners have come together to respond to this crisis.”
The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.