Good News Project Responds to Call for Housing

By: Jonalee Merkel Email
By: Jonalee Merkel Email

Most Caribbean islands are known for their breathtaking views, their beautiful beaches and their warm and friendly people. Unfortunately, many are also known to have widespread poverty.

But one North Central Wisconsin organization is helping out the poor, one house at a time.

It was back in 1983 that the Good News Project made its first trip to St. Lucia, but the first trip was unlike any others in years to come. The group of five came equipped with instruments and put on music workshops for locals. St. Lucians thanked them for teaching them beautiful music, but then informed the group what they could really use was housing for the poor.

Seeing the need truly was enormous, the next year volunteers responded to the call for help. They began by building for the poor in cities and in some of the most remote areas of the country. Once they started working in St. Lucia, volunteers quickly learned other islands in the West Indies could use their assistance. And before you knew it, the Good News Project started building homes in Grenada, Dominica and St. Vincent.

The group is putting up their bright, trademark structures all over the islands. To date they have built 283 houses, but despite all their efforts the need persists.

"You don't see the poverty as much and it's not all concentrated in one place, but there are some communities where it's concentrated and it's overwhelming,” said Christine Daniels, general manager of the Good news Project. "It was really incredible in the 80s and it still is, but it's harder to see cause there's so many big, beautiful homes that come up next to the small hovels."

So for now, Good News plans to build homes as long as they can find the land and there are people in need.

The average annual income in the West Indies is $6,000-9,000 depend on the country. To put that in perspective, the average annual income in Haiti is around $1,000 a year and in the United States it is $44,000.

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