ND engineers helping Haitians rebuild homes safely

An earthquake devastated Haiti four years ago. The people of the country are still living with the destruction left behind by the natural disaster.

There are 1.5 million households still waiting to rebuild. Engineers from Notre Dame are working to help in the process.

Engineering to Empower, also called E2E, is a group of engineers focused on teaching Haitians to build earthquake-safe homes.

The group has designed homes that are more affordable and reliable than typical houses built in Haiti. They are building a prototype on the Notre Dame campus.

“No one had given them an alternative mode of construction until we came to town,” said Tracy Kijewski-Correa, who is the co-founder of E2E.

The regular construction method in Haiti does not provide enough reinforcement for houses but comes with a cheaper price tag. Adequately built homes cost about $20,000. E2E has managed to design a sturdy house for about $5,000.

“They’re walking the walk with us,” Kijewski-Correa said. “They are saving, organizing.”

Members of the group have traveled to Haiti and seen the tough conditions many Haitians have endured for four years.

“A lot of people still don’t have homes,” said Kevin Find, student project manager. “A lot are still living in temporary housing in form of plastic tents.“

E2E created a business model so Haitians can continue to build homes for years to come.

“We are actually seeking to empower Haitians to reconstruct my helping them establish businesses and doing it themselves as opposed to waiting for aid that may never come in their lifetime,” Kijewski-Correa said.

For more information on E2E, click here

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