Rebuilding Stability in the Philippines

It’s a simple home. But compared to four months of sleeping on scrap materials under a tarp, it is a palace. It will be much easier to take care of my nephews and keep them safe in this new house. I feel good about that.

Marlito Sarda, Habitat homeowner, Philippines

At 34, Marlito Sarda had seen his share of natural disasters. But the earthquake that struck the island province of Bohol in 2013 was different. 

“I thought it was the end of the world,” Sarda says.

Then, just three weeks after the quake, Super Typhoon Haiyan — one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall — devastated the islands. Sarda and his nephews pitched a ragged tent of plastic scraps a short walk from their collapsed home, unsure of what the future would bring.

By early 2014, brightly painted orange and yellow Habitat houses had started dotting Bohol’s lush landscape like beacons of hope. Sarda and his nephews soon moved into one of these earthquake- and disaster-resistant houses.

These Habitat homes are called ‘core houses’, which means they are small in size but can be expanded as families’ resources allow. For now, Sarda and the boys keep the house in pristine order, with a neatly made bed in one corner and a tall bookcase separating sleeping space and living area.

“It’s a simple home. But compared to four months of sleeping on scrap materials under a tarp, it is a palace. It will be much easier to take care of my nephews and keep them safe in this new house. I feel good about that.”

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons annually. Responding to and increasing communities’ resilience against disasters is a very significant part of Habitat’s work. The support of Habitat for Humanity Ireland Global Village volunteers has and is making a real difference to families who have lost everything. A huge ‘thank you’ to the 2017 volunteers who have recently returned from their trip.

 

There are 50 more homes due to be completed next month, ending the long wait for families living in temporary accommodation. When the site
is fully completed, it will be its own community with 300 homes, a religious centre, community gardens, and day-care and school facilities. It was
amazing to meet the families that had already moved into their homes. We got to hear their stories, what it was like in the aftermath of the
typhoon, how they have tried to rebuild their lives, and their hopes for the future and the future of their children.

Aislinn Hayes, 2017 Habitat volunteer, Philippines

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