Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project
“Habitat has opened up unprecedented opportunities for me to cross the chasm that separates those of us who are free, safe, financially secure, well fed and housed, and influential enough to shape our own destiny from our neighbours who enjoy few, if any, of these advantages of life.”
President Jimmy Carter – Habitat’s most famous volunteer
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity International began in 1984 when the former president led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. That experience planted the seed for the Carter Work Project, which has been an internationally recognized Habitat event ever since.
While the former president is a noted carpenter (the White House staff gave him tools for his workshop when he left the presidency), Rosalynn has also gained building experience with Habitat.
The former first lady describes her work on a Habitat project in “Everything to Gain,” a book that was co-written by the Carters: “I didn’t think I could use a hammer and I didn’t want to use a hammer. At first it took me 15 or 20 strokes for each nail, but before the week was over I could drive one in with only four or five strokes!”
In 2008, the event―formerly the Jimmy Carter Work Project―was renamed to recognise Mrs. Carter’s years of dedicated service to help raise awareness and provide simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with families in need.
The Carter Work Project in Haiti
2012 marked the 29th Carter Work Project, and the second time it built in Haiti. The Carter Work Project usually travels to a different location every year, however, the need in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake was judged to be so great that for the first time, the Carter Work Project carried out consecutive builds in the same location.
That year 155 permanent houses were built in the Santo community of Léogâne, Haiti.
Since that project, many partner families have started small businesses in or outside their new homes to increase much needed family income.
Others continue to make upgrades to their new homes and landscape their yards.
In November 2012, President and Mrs. Carter joined approximately 600 volunteers to build the next 100 homes in the Santo community.
Read more about this year’s Carter Work Project here.