Women construction workers heading to Haiti - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Women construction workers heading to Haiti to help earthquake victims


By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BILOXI, MS  (WLOX) –  They can paint, install sheet rock, and even climb on a roof to do repairs.  The ladies are students in the Moore Community House "Women in Construction Program".  It's a free training course that was created after Katrina.        

"The work we do here, we rebuild homes from Katrina.  So it's all hands-on job training and so once students go through the program, they're more equipped to get jobs," said Program Director Julie Kuklinski.

Some of the women are getting ready to do some hard labor and live in rather rough conditions. Six students and recent graduates, along with three instructors, have volunteered to go to Haiti to help the victims of the massive earthquake.  The January quake killed hundreds of thousands of people and left more than one million people homeless.

"Every single time we have a class, a student says 'I want to give back, given the help that I got from Katrina'.  So this was our way of saying this is what the students want and we're going to do it," said Kuklinski.

Carolyn Lee sees this trip as an opportunity to help in Haiti's recovery. 

"At first, I just sent money and it just seemed like it wasn't quite enough," said Lee.  "When this opportunity came up, I just jumped on it.  Please let me go! Please let me go, so I can go do hands-on help."

And Gloria Marcello-Morris is ready to use her new skills to benefit others.

"Just help in any way possible, because before the earthquake, it was terrible, so I can't imagine what it's like now.  They're living in just off the tarmac and five to six in these makeshift huts and stuff," said Marcello-Morris.

The group leaves on June 21st and will spend more than two weeks in a camp in Leogane, Haiti. The tasks range from removing rubble to rebuilding schools.  Some members also want to do community outreach projects, and maybe share some construction skills with women in Haiti.

"I can hardly wait. I've already gotten my tent, my mosquito net, my sleeping bag, my everything. We've had great instruction.  We've torn down, we've built, we're ready to do it all," said Lee.

The women have also helped victims of another disaster. After a tornado struck Yazoo City last month, they spent a week there helping with debris removal.  And some ladies have undergone hazardous waste training, in case they are needed to help with the BP oil cleanup.

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