Construction Volunteers is a product of nearly 10 years of interaction between volunteers and the people of Roatan, Honduras.
IT BEGAN IN 2008
Roatan is an island of Honduras facing difficult conditions including high levels of poverty, lack of civil services, poor healthcare, and other problems associated with underdeveloped areas. Learning of these problems, Vince, a professional carpenter, wanted to travel to the island to use his skills for the people of the island. A group of 15 volunteers traveled to Roatan in 2008 and rehabilitated a house for a poor family. This was the first introduction to the island where they learned about the difficult conditions, about the logistics of working on the island, and most importantly made personal connections with the community. This inspired the volunteers to return.
During a second trip in 2009 the volunteers worked on a house for another family. They made many new friends and became more cognizant of the lack of infrastructure in an area of the island called La Colonia. It is a crowded community built on very steep slopes with no way for residents to travel except by climbing the dangerous, crude, trails up the hills. After being exposed to these conditions while working on the house, the volunteers determined it would help the entire community if they were able to build steps up the hill. They spoke with the people they had met in the area and all agreed that steps would be very desirable.
In 2010 volunteers returned to build the steps. It was a very ambitious project, but they were determined to build as many steps as they could. As they began working on building steps the volunteers were joined by more and more local people who came to help work on this project for their community. It was only due to the help of the local people that the volunteers were able to build 101 concrete steps up the entire hill in just 2 weeks. Tremendously inspired by the commitment of the locals who worked with them, the volunteers decided to continue to construct community projects collaboratively with the community. This remains the central motive of CV.
When CV returned in 2011 and 2013 the community partners requested more steps. CV began hiring workers to help complete the projects. While they have never had the funds to pay all those who work with them, CV wants to pay as many of those as it can as many are unemployed.
THE FIRST FUNDRAISER
CV held its first fundraiser in 2014. More than $10,000 was generously donated, allowing CV to both attempt more ambitious projects and to begin to formalize the organization. This was made possible by the hard work of many new volunteers.
CV returned in 2015 with the resources to build about 100 steps. As the connection with the community grew, CV was able to meet the Mayor of the island. He arranged for the municipality to donate materials for another 100 steps. CV also met with the owners of a local business, Splash Inn, who donated materials for another 100 steps. With this help, CV was able to build 300 steps as well as retaining walls and foot bridges in this year.
During the 2016 trip, CV met with a large gathering of local residents. They asked CV to construct a school and community center, explaining there was no facility for community meetings in the area and that the children had to walk significant distances on dangerous roads to attend the current, overcrowded, school. CV only had enough funds to buy materials for the building and could not afford to hire any workers. The community assured CV there would be many who would help and that many locals who had jobs would contribute to help pay the workers. Together they constructed the building.
CV is the result of the interaction over many years of its volunteers and the people of Roatan. Collaborative efforts have taught CV how to best work for the community of the island. CV looks forward to continuing this special relationship.