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BLACKFOOT â€” Today is the first anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti.
Blackfoot resident Beverly Beach is passionate about helping people in Haiti.
Last September, Beach and her co-director, Katie Tirion, spent two weeks in Haiti checking out land the Haitian government has designated for a quality housing expo. The goal is to build housing that will protect the families.
"I saw people living between two streets; if they stepped into the road, they could get hit," she said. "People live in horrific conditions; the water conditions are horrible.
"What the country needs is leadership," Beach said.
"There are so many relief organizations in Haiti wanting to help but they lack any kind of coordination," she said.
In Haiti, Beach has worked with the Gerald Bataille Ministry, a non-denominational Christian outreach; the Catholic Relief Society; Partners in Health and the Sean Penn group.
To coordinate the rebuilding efforts, the government sponsored a contest called "Building Back a Better Community."
The contest began in 2010 and garnered over 1,200 submissions, ranking the process as among the world's most successful competitions of its kind.
The field has been narrowed to 140 participants who have the best products available, the best solutions for the housing of displaced Haitians, and the ability to do the work.
On Tuesday, Beach and company were still in the running. Beach received a letter from the Haiti Tourism Ministry confirming she is a finalist in the "Building Back a Better Community" contest. She is to submit her artwork by Saturday and will attend the four-day EXPO CONFERENCE in Haiti beginning Jan. 31.
Beach's business is called Architectural Hotwire Foam & Stoneworks. Her proposal is called "To Build a Village."
The competition was designed to provide quality homes for Haiti. The building material is styrofoam. Beach built her demonstration home in her shop in Blackfoot.
"We can build a home without glue or nails," Beach said. "The building is strong and will withstand earthquakes."
Each home has three roomsâ€”a gathering room/kitchen, sleeping room and toilet room. The outdoor area has an insulated roof and raised flooring to prevent water and mud from entering the house.
"To Build a Village" has a developed concept for a village master plan that forms the basis for large-scale project goals.
Beach's plan proposes building a community for 350 people. The homes are constructed of EPS foam covered with polymer cement and stucco. The community would feature 250 trees, a fishing pond, animals, a small school and community center.
Water harvesting and solar power are also a part of the village design. A small scale water system has been developed that now has the approval of the EPA.
This new system will filter out all the bacteria and viruses to provide good contamination-free drinking water.
"We hope this system will be integrated all over Haiti to allow families that are not on city water to have access to good bacteria-free drinking water," Beach said. "This system will filter out cholera."
"To Build a Village" is a collaboration of 46 highly skilled team members, all pioneers in the green building industry and regenerative land development fields.
Presently, Beach is working to raise funds for this project.
"A man has already donated the land," Beach said. The planned 350-person community would be near Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
Beach needs one million dollars.
"If everyone in Idaho contributed $1, we could do it," Beach said. "Idaho would set an example for the world." Donations can made on the website, www.tobuildavillage.com
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