Yolanda survivors see hope through Gawad Kalinga

PANAY, Capiz, Oct. 12 (PNA) — Rebuilding their lives after losing what they have from Yolanda way back November 2013 could be difficult, but not for families of this town who are fortunate to be chosen as beneficiaries of Gawad Kalinga’s (GK) housing project.

GK has two villages in Panay — the GK- ESSEC Village in Sitio Buntod and Handumanan Village in Cabugao Oeste.

These were just baby villages as the families have just transferred to the GK houses very recently. The construction of houses started in November last year with the beneficiaries pouring out their sweat equity.

Tony Morente, provincial coordinator for Capiz said that currently, there are 30 houses at the GK-ESSEC Village but they look forward to constructing a total of 42.

Meanwhile, Handumanan Village currently has 24 households.

Morente said that apart from the benefits provided to recipients, they look into the welfare of the children and “give them a role model community with all those values and to empower them.”

At the GK-ESSEC Village, they are now helping households become entrepreneurs by introducing the concept of bed and breakfast with the help of French volunteers, who are students of the Master ESSEC Business School and the Capiz State University (CapSU).

“We want to empower them and give them dignity of living and avail a good livelihood. The best is they get out from the village to have their own business and have their own project so they can help others,” Morente said.

On the other hand, Edwin Brillantes, president of the Kapitbhayan of the Handumanan Village ventures into making and selling of banana cue. He also sells vegetables and bread.

He was very much appreciative of GK which according to him has provided them a safe haven after Yolanda.

Handumanan Village is situated along the national highway. They used to stay beside the creek that overflowed at the height of typhoon Yolanda.

Moreover, Lourdes and her husband Hernani were overjoyed with their new house. She said that it was an answered prayer for them.

Aside from Panay, GK also has other villages in some parts of Capiz. These are in Tapaz, Panit-an, Pontevedra, Dumalag and Roxas City. (PNA)