Our communities are showing signs of change. Slowly but surely the roads and neighborhoods are being cleaned up by NGO programs entitled “Cash for work,” which pay locals to clean up the debris and wreckage from the storm. These programs provide a much needed income to local families and help supply the labor needed to restore the affected communities. Hundreds of individuals can be seen removing debris from road ways, sidewalks, and homes using anything they can to clean up their neighborhoods. Even though electricity is not available currently, locals are optimistic that electricity will resume before the Christmas holiday.
We are happy to announce that both of our damaged centers, in Bliss and in Cangumbang, have been temporarily repaired thanks to local and international help. Both centers are now functional and this week we began daily feedings for our sponsored children yet again. In Cangumbang, because of the remote location of the village and the lack of access to stores, we have expanded the daily feeding to all children between the ages of 2 and 6 as well, which means we are supplying 1 daily meal to over 60 children in the area. In Bliss, we distributed groceries to our more than 50 sponsored children already this week and have begun daily feedings.
Another proud announcement for this week, we have accounted for all of our sponsored children and we are in the process of conducting extensive interviews on each child to assess their immediate needs and the needs of the children in to the future. So far it appears that the majority of our children are in need of new homes, or at least materials to repair their damaged homes. Food and water is now accessible to our sponsored children, though we will continue to periodically distribute relief goods in the coming weeks.
Most of our sponsored children reported to their schools this week for the first time, so the administrators could create the first count of the children who have survived the storm. Our hearts go out to all of our sponsored children who have lost classmates in the devastating typhoon and to their teachers who will be supporting them through this difficult period.
Now that feedings have resumed and our children have been located, our Sponsorship Program priorities have transitioned. As soon as housing materials are available in Tacloban, we hope to help our sponsored children’s families rebuild through Build A Home Projects (Find out more information about these projects here). We also hope to secure school supplies to replace the hundreds of supplies destroyed in the typhoon and flooding.
Change is happening throughout the island of Leyte and we are happy to be part of the progress moving forward in to the future. With hope and determination, we will continue to help rebuild our communities.