All in a Day at Haiti Communitere

Sean photographs Ubuntu workshop
ChangeStream Media was very lucky to use Haiti Communitere‘s Sustainability Resource Center as a base while we worked in Port-au-Prince. Haiti Communitere is a nonprofit that helps international and Haitian grassroots organizations operate as a community. The center provided accommodation, office space, connections and many other types of support for our projects. We were so impressed by Haiti Communitere’s approach to development — this idea of bringing people together to collaborate, inspire and learn from each other — that we decided to document it. A video is in the works; in the meantime, here are some photos from a single day at Haiti Communitere.

Welding workshop at Haiti Communitere
A US-based nonprofit, Global Groundwork, used the Resource Center’s workshop to teach welding skills to residents of Cité Soleil. The trainees built benches for public use in their neighborhoods.

Women pass around vetiver Ubuntu Blox

In another corner of the workshop, Harvey Lacey, inventor of Ubuntu-Blox, showed his team a prototype of a block made with vetiver roots. The Ubuntu-Blox building technique uses simple machines to transform waste products, including styrofoam, plastics and organic materials, into building blocks. Harvey has trained a group of women from Cité Soleil to create Ubuntu-Blox, which can be used to build seismically sound structures affordably. We interviewed Harvey and made a video about building Ubuntu-Blox with vetiver roots.

Workers make briquettes

Just outside the workshop, a team made briquettes out of recycled paper, cardboard and organic waste. The briquettes serve as fuel, providing an alternative to the deforestation that has devastated Haiti’s natural environment and farmland. In partnership with Haiti Communitere, Kevin Adair of El Fuego del Sol developed the prototype briquette press. The social and ecological development company now employs 20 Haitian workers who make briquettes at the Haiti Communitere Sustainability Resource Center.

Young artist at the orphanage

A short walk from the Resource Center, Future for the Kids was running arts and crafts projects at an orphanage. Frantz Lafaille founded Future for the Kids after volunteering in orphanages through Haiti Communitere. Future for the Kids regularly runs craft activities, educational games, and health/hygiene education sessions. On the day we visited, younger children colored pictures while older children learned to make jewelry.

Every day we spent at Haiti Communitere, we saw amazing projects in action. Community mapping. Open mic events. Woodworking training. All of it was inspiring, and we’re excited to share our photos and video with you!