In the wake of widespread devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in November, the Salesians in the Philippines are working together to launch an exciting new project to reconstruct entire villages. “Adopt and Rebuild a Community” (ARC) will involve local residents on four separate islands and will ultimately benefit 2,600 impoverished families.
ARC promises to rebuild a sustainable infrastructure in the Philippines—replacing destroyed homes and buildings that were poorly constructed, with ones that can withstand future weather events. For example, solid roofing will protect against heavy rains, and concrete rooms can serve as shelter in high winds.
Villagers in each of the project areas will participate in the actual construction, using materials provided and transported by Salesian aid workers . In addition to the rebuilt homes, ARC will also provide for the repair of 10 elementary schools –so that children may quickly resume their education and move beyond the trauma of the storm.
These efforts are just one part of a comprehensive recovery and reconstruction effort coordinated by Salesians (in the Philippines and around the globe) immediately in Haiyan’s wake. In the weeks and months since Nov.8 , they have made promising progress:
- Parishes have streamlined and centralized food distribution and humanitarian aid -- which ensures that supplies reach those who need it most.
- In December alone, 20 tons of cargo arrived in and was distributed to the people of Eastern Samar island, one of the hardest hit.
- And, the local Salesians have developed a close collaboration with the Filipino Family Fund, an organization that shares a commitment to education and improving the lives of impoverished youth and families. The organizations are planning future joint projects—including work on Butig Island, where 95 percent of homes were destroyed.
The road is long and challenging, and there is much more work to be done. With the caring generosity of our friends, however, the Philippines can rise again—stronger and more resilient than before.
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