Colonel Hong Woo Lee, ROKENGCOY Engineering Unit of MINUSTAH, speaking at groundbreaking. MINUSTAH is the UN's stabilization mission to Haiti and helped build the roads and prepare the land for the Gressier Model Village. Credit: LWF-DWS/Haiti

Last Thursday a fairly momentous occasion happened in Haiti. A new project, that has involved many months of conversation, negotiation, community input and planning came together with the groundbreaking for the Gressier Model Village. This village of 200 housing units and community space will provide some of the hardest hit families of the 2010 earthquake with a new home and a new start.

Built with community involvement and depending on community management once up and running, it empowers residents to have an active role in building and owning their future. Built with green technologies, it is finding better ways to integrate people with their environment. Built to be earthquake resistant the building practices, it brings a focus on disaster risk reduction. Built in conversation with the national government, local and international non-governmental organizations, it has support and a common understanding from all concerned parties.

And these are just a few of the amazing benefits why the ELCA has committed $3.5 million dollars to the project and has played a leading role in its creation. As the work in Haiti continues to transition from short-term relief to long-term development, it is projects like this that are leading the way. Makes one proud to say this is our church at work and puts a tangible ring to the phrase “God’s work. Our hands.”

To read more about this project, as well as the amazing work to stave off a cholera epidemic being doing by the ELCA and our partners in Haiti, check out the ELCA news release: Lutherans break ground for a new resettlement village in Haiti.