Storm-hit families get free housing and skills training

Published August 23, 2018, 7:40 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Marie Tonette Grace Marticio

ALMERIA, Biliran – Fifty families in three coastal barangays in this town displaced by Typhoon Urduja last December did not only get new houses; they were also provided skills training by the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA)

After almost five months of staying in tents, the families in Barangays Sangalang, Biliran and Sitio Punod have built new houses with help from Rotary Clubs from all over the Philippines.

Rotary District 3860 Disaster Management Committee Executive Director Troy Bumagat said that after relief operations, housing was identified as the most urgent need in the affected communities. And the Rotary Clubs offered to help.

“This is a collaboration of many Philippine Rotary Districts and Clubs. Thank you for allowing us to be of service to the community, and for the opportunity to make a difference,” Bumagat said.

The family of Feliza Amparado, a 57-year-old mother of 10, lost their house when Urduja struck their village.

Amparado had constant asthma attacks while living in a tent. “Lagi akong nagkakasakit sa tent dahil sa init at lamig. Pero noong sinabihan kami ng Rotary na pagagawan ng bahay, sobrang saya namin dahil libre lahat at malapit pa sa pinagtatrabahuan sakahan ng asawa ko,” she said.

In the spirit of bayanihan or tiklos, members of each household applied what they learning from TESDA in building their home, while the local government of Biliran and Almeria implemented a food-for-work program.

Seventy-six trainees whose age range from 18 to 67, earned certificates and starter kits in masonry, carpentry and electrical installation and maintenance from TESDA.

Livelihood/daycare centers were also built in two of the villages to teach additional skills to mothers and senior citizens so they could earn while their children are studying.

“Nagpapasalamat talaga ako na binigyan kami ng bagong bahay dahil kung kami lang hindi ko alam kung saan kami mapupunta. Makakapag-aral na din ‘yung apo kong maliit kasi may daycare center na ginawa, hindi na kami mamamasahi o maglalakad ng malayo,” Amparado said.