The 12th of January won’t be a date that I forget in a hurry. It marks the day our house went underwater.
However, for another Queenslander, January the 12th, 2012 will mark the anniversary of an entirely different natural disaster.
In 2010, the 12/01 was the day Haiti was hit by a catastrophic earthquake.
Approximately 250,000 people were killed. 300,000 buildings were leveled, 500,000 children were made orphans. And an estimated one million were left homeless or living in tent accommodation.
This Queenslander’s name is Jonas Rasmussen. Jonas, 30, and his brother Tim run a roofing business in South-East Queensland and see what Australians send off for landfill every day via the tip.
I first became aware of Jonas when my builder stripped out the flood-damaged parts of my house and asked if he could donate these damaged materials – which included my timber doors, walls and floors – to the people of Haiti.
Initially, I thought it sounded a bit crazy to ship it halfway across the world, when people in the Lockyer Valley might be able to use it instead. After asking around, I realised that most Australians devastated by the floods understandably don’t want flood-damaged building materials to rebuild with. So I thought sure, let’s ship it to Haiti!
At the same time, it put my own natural disaster experience into perspective.
Born in Haiti, Jonas was adopted by an Australian family when he was six, and he’s doing all he can to help his native home. He collects any type of building material (even flood-damaged materials) such as flooring, doors, windows, toilets, hand-basins, baths, showers and roofing iron that would otherwise end up in Australian landfill. He then rents a shipping container, fills it and ships it to Haiti.
Later this year, Jonas, his wife and three children are going to relocate to Haiti so they can try and help build some accommodation for those affected.
Do you have a broken door at home sitting under the house collecting dust? Know of a friend doing a renovation, have a friend who is a builder / tradesman or have excess timber, fittings, steel or roofing? No matter what the condition or damage, Jonas and his team will take it and it can be used to help the people of Haiti.
Jonas doesn’t just need your old building materials, he also needs your cash help.
Imagine taking a year out of your life and going overseas to help rebuild a community? In addition to flights to get over there, it costs Jonas approximately $6,500 per shipping container, which he has so far covered the cost of himself.
To help Jonas please visit his website http://www.homeforhaiti.com/ and please spread the word about his project.
To contact Jonas phone 0406 335 125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
See the full Rasmussen Family story on 60 Minutes Journey of Hope