ALL Hands and Hearts during a previous visit to Abaco offering help in Dundas Town.
ON the third anniversary of Hurricane Dorian, a non-profit organisation helping people and communities impacted by disasters returned to Abaco last week to start their third phase of relief work focusing on home repairs and giving residents who have been displaced or living in unhealthy conditions, a safe, secure and functional home.
With approximately $1m in funding for The Bahamas Hurricane Relief programme, All Hands and Hearts (AHAH) plan to perform critical interior and exterior work on more than 20 homes through mid-December, including the installation of new ceilings, drywall, subflooring, plumbing, electricity and hurricane-resilient shutters and roofing.
“For three years now, the people of Great Abaco and The Bahamas have been trying to put their lives back together following the country’s most devastating hurricane on record,” said Jess Thompson, CEO of AHAH. “In that length of time, most non-governmental organisations have left the country. All Hands and Hearts is dedicated to assisting, not only the displaced residents, but community members who are looking to make their home more resistant to these regularly-occurring disasters.”
In addition to deploying 40 volunteers to help with home reconstruction, AHAH also intends to employ workers native to the area on rebuilding projects, providing them with training and experience in disaster-resilient repairs and renovations to better prepare them for future disasters in The Bahamas.
Once phase three is finalised, AHAH will have completed $11.5m worth of rebuilding projects in Great Abaco, the organisation’s largest single programme to date, with nearly 200 homes, schools and other community structures being repaired or rebuilt.
Of the eight schools that have been reconstructed since 2019, four required a complete rebuild, including the area’s only school for students with disabilities. The Every Child Counts Primary School, a 12,620-square-foot campus, consists of five buildings serving more than 60 students with disabilities.
Hurricane Dorian struck Abaco on Sept. 1, 2019.
AHAH estimates that 1,100 homes are still in need of repair in The Bahamas, making donations for ongoing repairs and construction all the more crucial.
Established in 2017, All Hands and Hearts has affected the lives of more than 1.2m people and mobilised over 63,000 volunteers to approximately 100 sites across the globe to help rebuild communities affected by catastrophic disasters, including wildfires in Butte County, California, hurricanes in Louisiana and Guatemala, tornadoes in Kentucky, earthquakes in Peru and Mexico, tsunamis in Japan and more.
Those looking to donate, support or learn more about AHAH are encouraged to visit www.AllHandsAndHearts.org.