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Feb 19, 2019

Recovery in Yabucoa: Our First Update!

Volunteer Doing Roof Work Over the Holidays
Volunteer Doing Roof Work Over the Holidays

Hello Donors!

As you may know, All Hands and Hearts has been in Puerto Rico since Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit in the Fall of 2017. Officially starting the first week of January 2018, our teams worked incredibly hard to help those impacted by the storms move beyond the destruction they faced as a result of the heavy winds and rain. Originally working in three locations (Barranquitas, Yabucoa, and Toa Baja), our recovery phase of work is now operating solely out of Yabucoa.

The efforts of our field teams are focused on some mucking/gutting/mold sanitizing, and our primary work on roof and critical home repairs. For thousands of residents after the initial storm hit, roofs were severely damaged, or even removed altogether. Even now, at higher altitudes in the areas we work, you can see the blue tarps speckling the landscape as many are still depending on these tarps to keep water out of their homes. This is by no means a long-term solution to the problem, and simply acts as a bandaid leaving homeowners vulnerable to even a minor storm. Our goal is to repair as many of these roofs as possible, building them back stronger than ever. Until a roof is fully repaired, it’s very difficult for homeowners to address the damage to the inside of their homes as rain leakage has been a big issue.

Teams and volunteers worked straight through the holidays (notice the santa hats in one of the update photos!) in order to make sure that All Hands and Hearts can serve as many individuals as possible over the full timeline of recovery. 7,014 people have been impacted by the work of 2,392 volunteers. We are thrilled that our teams have been able to make this kind of impact so far, and thankful that we have been so strongly supported by the Globalgiving community from day one. Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership as we work together to see these numbers grow!

As always, thank you from everyone at All Hands and Hearts!

Volunteer Prepping a Damaged Roof for Sealant
Volunteer Prepping a Damaged Roof for Sealant
Volunteers Prepping a Damaged Roof for Sealant
Volunteers Prepping a Damaged Roof for Sealant
Feb 11, 2019

Dominica Update: Our Work Here is Complete!

Students at Morne Prosper
Students at Morne Prosper

Hello Donors!

Since our last update, though only a few months ago, we have quite a bit to share with you! Our teams have been working hard on the recovery programs in Dominica, St. Thomas, St. John, and Puerto Rico.

In the USVI, our teams are continuing to work closely with community partners like My Brother’s Workshop to make sure we assist as many people as possible. Gradually, the scope of work is becoming more recovery based. With every project our teams complete, whether it’s roofing, mucking and gutting, school retrofitting, or even the installation of mold resistant materials into homes, our beneficiaries take one more step closer to fully realized recovery. To date, over 7,226 people have been positively impacted by our work here and, with your generous and ongoing support, we are excited to see this number continue to grow. In Puerto Rico, our teams are adjusting as we experience a couple of exciting program changes. After over 66,712 combined volunteer hours, programs wrapped up in Barranquitas (on December 21st) and Toa Baja (on January 7th). Even as these programs close, we are thrilled that our work in Puerto Rico will continue through September 2019 as our teams work hard to put hurricane resilient roofs on homes and complete some special community projects as well.  

As mentioned in our last update, we have designated isolated pages on GlobalGiving for both our work in the USVI and Puerto Rico where you can find the most up to date information on the work we are continuing to do in both places. For this update, we would like to specifically highlight our work in Dominica, which has officially wrapped up!

Finishing our program in Dominica is bittersweet for all of us at All Hands and Hearts, but we are extremely proud of what our field teams were able to accomplish on the Island. During our time in Dominica, and in addition to storm resilient roof work and a wonderful community project (the Liveier Tadour Water Source project), five schools were completed helping 170 students return to safe and comfortable learning environments. Most recently, we were able to celebrate the completion of Charlotte Pre School (finished January 19th) and Morne Prosper Primary and Pre Schools (both finished January 10th). One of our volunteers, Tim, is a Landscape Architect by trade and put his skills and knowledge to good use at the Morne Prosper project. After the completion of the structural work for both the Primary and Pre-School, Tim designed and implemented some wonderful ideas with a group of volunteers, aptly named “Team Awesome”. His plans included a cricket field, an octagonal bench surrounding a large (Delonix regia) tree, a large staircase linking the lower ground to the new school buildings, and a community garden in the shape of a flower (each petal offering a space for every grade to grow plants and vegetables to represent Morne Prosper as an agricultural village).These beautiful additions acted as a small farewell gift to the communities in Dominica, and will serve as a reminder to the children of Morne Prosper what is possible when they work together! At the center of this  work were “Build Back Better” techniques, used to ensure that the schools and roofs are resistant against future hurricanes and earthquakes. Having worked closely with the Ministry of Education, other NGOs, the schools and the local communities, this essential work created much safer homes and more appropriate learning environments, which also serve as evacuation shelters for the surrounding communities. Attached below, please find a short video capturing what our teams were able to accomplish in Dominica. We are forever grateful for the overwhelming support we received from you, the GlobalGiving community, to continue this vital work.

From all of us at All Hands and Hearts, thank you!

Morne Prosper (Completed)
Morne Prosper (Completed)
Morne Prosper (Completed)
Morne Prosper (Completed)
A community member thanking a volunteer
A community member thanking a volunteer

Links:

Jan 22, 2019

Rebuild Continues in Texas!

Hello donors!

2018 was a remarkable year for All Hands and Hearts - between our Houston and Coastal Bend programs, teams have rebuilt a total of 41 homes, completed 433 muck and gut sites, and sanitized 164 homes for mold, allowing over 2,700 individuals to be able to move back into their homes. Much of this was possible due to you, our generous donors, and the added support of GlobalGiving's Hurricane Harvey funds.

We currently have 10 homes that are in various stages of rebuild. Many of these homes are in areas already stricken with systemic poverty, which made the resulting burden on owners of storm-damaged homes exponentially greater. We have had an amazing boost of volunteers in the last several months, and applications and commitments remain strong for both programs. We have hosted multiple AmeriCorps, University, and corporate groups, and at the end of the month we are welcoming two more groups who have committed to stay for 8 months. This will give volunteers the opportunity to develop technical skills related to home rebuilds, which will subsequently allow All Hands and Hearts to rebuild even more homes.

As we begin 2019, All Hands and Hearts is continuing to build strong roots in the communities in which we serve. We have been fortunate enough to attend events such as performances put on by the Rhodes School, which we helped rebuild, and local Women's Club gatherings that have strengthened our connections with these communities even more. Our field teams are working hard every day to help these communities recover fully, working closely with our partners and other long term recovery groups to make this goal a reality.

Thanks to the generosity of GlobalGiving and donors like you, All Hands and Hearts has committed to staying in Texas for the next year and a half. Your continued support allows us to help residents who may not be able to get assistance otherwise. Kenneth, the owner of a recently finished house, expressed his thanks: "I am overwhelmed with gratitude. My home had to be totally gutted. It's 1,900 square feet. They restored everything. It's looking better than it was originally".

Again, we thank you for your unwavering support as we continue our work in Texas. It wouldn't be possible without you!

 
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