We serve in faithful partnership with the poor to build homes that adequately address the diverse needs of families–such as access to clean water, health care, and education–in order to build sustainable, independent communities and promote economic opportunity.
In all that we do, we want to bring glory to God and work with an attitude of service, compassion, integrity, and respect. In addition, we want to make sure that our work makes a real and lasting improvement, initiating change that is sustainable even after we are gone.
Our model focuses on partnership and empowerment. Instead of giving handouts, which would only create dependence and meet immediate needs, we partner with the poor to help them improve their lives. The families we serve build their homes alongside us, gaining pride and a sense of ownership through their work.
We also know that to make a home, there must be community. So, we identify and partner with an existing community leader before beginning our projects. Rather than building houses and then trying to find tenants, we work within existing communities, building upon existing ties and relationships. With this method, we've found that communities are more likely to thrive, achieving true sustainability and independence. All of these things focus on improving the opportunity for long-term success, giving people the chance to improve their own lives and to have a future where success is attainable through work and dedication.
In 2001, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook the nation of El Salvador. It was followed by over 2,500 aftershocks and another earthquake just one month later. The destruction was widespread: at least 1,159 people were killed, and another 500,000 people were left homeless. In addition, landslides caused extreme damage to the country's infrastructure, including roads and water systems.
A group of Kansas City businessmen founded Homes from the Heart in response to the disaster. Michael Bonderer was asked to step in as the on-the-ground coordinator, and he and his wife, Zuze, have been living in El Salvador and working with Homes from the Heart ever since. Homes from the Heart has now built over 400 homes, as well as churches, a school, playgrounds, and met many other community needs. We are there for the long haul, building relationships within the communities and being flexible to respond to the needs that arise.
In 2010, Haiti was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that left over 1 million people homeless. Homes from the Heart immediately expanded it's efforts to include work in Croix de Bouquets, Haiti, building homes and sustainable communities for Haitians affected by the disaster. We've already built roughly 50 homes and are continuing to help there, one family at a time.
Homes from the Heart also works in Guatemala and Nicaragua. Even though those countries have not seen the same level of destruction from natural disasters, severe poverty has created a great need for an organization such as Homes from the Heart to help communities develop and become sustainable.