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Habitat for Humanity Haiti gives diplomas to 195 students for completion of advanced construction training program

The project is part of Habitat Haiti’s multi-year community action plan for the Simon-Pelé neighborhood of Port-au-Prince

Loubenson Saint-Jean gives the commencement speech during Habitat Haiti’s training graduation ceremony.
Loubenson Saint-Jean gives the commencement speech during Habitat Haiti’s training graduation ceremony.

Habitat for Humanity Haiti introduced a new set of graduates from its training program last month as 195 students received their diplomas in advanced construction and celebrated their achievement and new opportunities with Habitat representatives, families and friends, local officials, donors, partners and supporters.

Launched in 2013, the training program is part of Habitat Haiti’s project, Investing in People and Business in Haiti. Through the generosity of project partners, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and Habitat for Humanity Canada, 3,400 residents of the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Simon-Pelé will receive training, including 910 women, to empower them as equal members of the community.

“Through its training program, Habitat Haiti along with its partners is helping to bring new opportunities to the men and women of Simon-Pelé,” said Claude Jeudy, Habitat’s national director for Haiti. “Before, little hope existed for these students. Now, they can use their newfound skills and knowledge to transform their lives, the lives of their families and the future of their beloved community.”

“Canada is proud to support skills training and income-generation activities in Haiti to increase opportunities for and improve the quality of life of economically disadvantaged families,” said the Honorable Christian Paradis, minister of international development and la Francophonie. “Our government is committed to supporting sustainable economic development and education in Haiti for those with limited resources so they can create new, or improve their existing livelihoods.”

Under the project, which concludes in 2016, training is offered in basic and advanced construction as well as in practical non-construction vocational skills, such as computer repair, plumbing and tailoring, to create much-needed job opportunities. Habitat Haiti has partnered with the Vocational Training Centre of the Reform to provide vocational training. To bolster family stability, training in financial literacy, disaster-risk reduction, basic home maintenance, conflict management and gender equality is also offered.

Residents may choose to take one or all of the training programs based on individual interests, employment prospects or desire to start a new business. Additional small business support will be provided to help spur economic activity and opportunity.

To date, 1,185 people, including 386 women, have received training.

Chosen by his classmates to speak on their behalf at the graduation, Saint-Jean Loubenson declared, “Today, we celebrate not only the diploma, but several victories, such as victories over discrimination, prejudice, bad influences and absolute poverty.”

For nearly four years, Habitat Haiti has been deeply engaged in the urban renewal of Simon-Pelé, a densely populated neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. In partnership with the Haitian government, U.N. Habitat, the World Bank, DFATD, local organizations, community leaders and families, Habitat Haiti continues to implement a communitywide action plan to improve overall living conditions for more than 30,000 residents.

The plan includes infrastructure upgrades, including new and repaired roads, rubble removal, street lighting, and water points for clean water and drainage; more than 650 home retrofits (a structural retrofit improves the original house by strengthening it against future natural disasters); capacity building; and training.

As part of the plan, the Government of Canada also funded a pilot project of 175 retrofits, alongside basic infrastructure improvements, capacity building, and improved general health and hygiene via installation of sanitation facilities, immunizations and education, reaching more than 10,000 residents.

About Habitat for Humanity Haiti
Habitat for Humanity has been at work in Haiti for more than 30 years providing families with pathways to permanent housing, including new home construction, home retrofits, training, capacity building and land tenure reform. Under its 2010 earthquake recovery program, Habitat Haiti helped more than 50,000 families impacted by the disaster. For more information, visit or Facebook at Habitat for Humanity Haiti— Official Site.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 4 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and supports a variety of funding models that enable families with limited resources to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit

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