What would be the house of your dreams? A four winged mansion estate, a modern condo overlooking a spectacular view or maybe just a nice three bedroom house in a swanky suburb?
For many of the families that Volunteer for the Visayans (VFV) serve, the house of their dreams would be one where they escape the rain dripping in through the cracks in the ceiling, the kind that doesn’t shake in heavy winds and the kind that has a sanitary human waste disposal system – and that’s exactly what we are trying to give them!
Since January, VFV has invested in five build-a-home projects both in Tacloban City and in Palo, Leyte; providing safe, comfortable and sanitary living conditions to some of the families of children enrolled on our Child Sponsorship Program. These figures are something that we’re especially proud of as it marks the most Build-A-Home projects that we’ve ever been able to complete in a year – and it’s still only August!
Our latest project was implemented in Palo, Leyte, a rural town just outside of Tacloban which last April was hit with some of the area’s worst flooding in more than one hundred years. This event caused crops to fail and significantly affected the livelihood of many rural families who are dependent on farming and agriculture as a means of achieving their regular income. In many cases, people’s houses had water running up to their knees causing major damage, discomfort and disruption to the regular everyday lives of the community. When our staff arrived on the scene, they were shocked and dismayed to see the levels of calamity that had been caused by the heavy rains and knew that many other houses would continue to be vulnerable from bad weather in the months and years to come.
After the flood waters resided, our staff revisited the community and reviewed the current living conditions of our children in Palo and knew straight away that something had to be done if certain houses were going to survive another spell of Filipino bad weather. Whilst most of the houses were already raised, many of them were supported by flimsy bamboo supports that would be easily washed away in another spell of severe flooding. With this in mind, we targeted two high priority houses for immediate rebuild before the year was out.
Facilitating the use of our beloved local carpenter Tatay Dondoy, his motley crew of local laborers and international volunteers, VFV was able to build a brand new house for both families who had up until now been living in severely unfit living conditions; one of which did not even have such simple facilities as a comfort room (toilet). Both houses that were constructed were built upon a solid timber hard floor which was raised two to three feet off the ground by concrete pillars in order to keep the families safe from any future flood waters. On top of this, the building boasts strong wooden walls and a aluminum roof that will help keep the family bone dry during the wet season.
The second of the two projects was assisted by Arisa, one of our international volunteers from the United States who had chosen to participate on our Volunteer on a Construction Project. At the same time, the project was assisted by further volunteers such as Anyi, Tom, Sophy, Michelle, Amy and Dave who chose to pitch in and dedicate their extra time and energy.
By the time we left, both families had wide smiles on their faces, sure – the houses are by no means Buckingham Palace, but at least now both families no longer have to worry about the imminent collapse of their houses.
When asked, VFV Director Aldous B. Moro (who was constantly on hand to supervise both projects) expressed his sincerest thanks for the efforts of both the local carpenters, volunteers and international benefactors who worked diligently together to truly make a difference.
If you’d like to find out more about volunteering in the Philippines or about our Build-A-Home Project, please do not hesitate to contact us.