My Habitat Experience: Daneilia Dwyer

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Daneilia is Jamaican-born, raised in the US and now living in Guatemala. If there’s one thing that’s obvious the moment you meet her—she is always smiling, quintessential of her Jamaican culture.  She recently joined our team in the National Office at Habitat Guatemala in our International Resources Department because she is passionate about our work in the field. We sat down to ask her about her HFHG experience and how she is feeling in Guatemala.

Why Habitat Guatemala? I learned about the eruption of Volcano Fuego that happened June of last year while working for another nonprofit. Months later, I learned that many families were still displaced and without homes. I’d heard about what Habitat was doing–providing clean water, supporting displaced families who were living with host families and the positive impact it was having for everyone involved. Habitat had done skills trainings, given cash vouchers to help families stabilize and even built the first houses after the disaster. The core values of empowerment and hope are very much in line with what I believe is most effective in finding long term solutions to poverty–and Habitat Guatemala does this well, with heart, commitment and conviction.

My Habitat Experience:What working in international development taught me about myself is that I love being hands-on and my current position with Habitat Guatemala allows me to do just that – I love my role! In my role, I travel to the different departments to visit families who are proud owners of newly constructed Habitat homes to tell their stories. Each time I hear a similar and overlapping theme–the importance of family, the need for secure livelihood, the desire for ownership, specifically home ownership—it’s a very universal dream. Families want a place where they feel safe, where they can come together and have peace of mind; most of all, to know that no one has influence or power to alter their living situation. 

What do you most like about your position?

I love the variety and the continuous challenge. Whether it’s working on special projects or telling the stories of our partner families, I’m using my skills as a writer and storyteller to share the impact of our work.  I’m also in the field, traveling on the back of a motorcycle, fully geared up in Habitat protective wear and meeting with families. From one day to the next, there’s always something different!

Most of all, I enjoy knowing that families and generations are being positively impacted. I like that our Global Village volunteers get to know how each family is doing since the construction of their house and when I learn that a donor has given because they were impacted while reading one of our family profiles. 

Want to get in touch with Daneilia and learn more about the impact of your volunteer work? Write her at profiles@habitatguate.org

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