Gawad Kalinga, Monsanto build homes for 232 families in Sara

If there is one poverty alleviation model that has worked, it is the Gawad Kalinga model which aims to create an enabling environment in the community that it has chosen to develop.

We all know that when people dwell on the thought that they are poor and marginalized, they will continue to act that way.  Gawad Kalinga wants to destroy this  “slum mentality”, a person’s lack of confidence and disconnection from opportunities through bayanihan.

So, Gawad Kalinga sought the help of other organizations in providing land, homes, food, education, health, skills development, social enterprise and opportunities to give care to the community. This is bayanihan at its best.

In GK-Cacho Village, I witnessed how volunteers and beneficiaries mixed cement, did carpentry jobs, painted their homes, etc. In GK Waterfront, I saw volunteers hold values formation sessions among children, teens and adults. Some of them became leaders in their community. Meanwhile, the Gawad Kalinga community in Sooc is now importing bags, wallets, etc that were made from recycled materials from the Calajunan dumpsite. Former scavengers are now cooperative managers and bag makers!

Monsanto Philippines and Gawad Kalinga officially turned over the remaining housing units to identified family-beneficiaries in Sara, Iloilo. Present during the turn-over were (from left to right) GK Executive Director Jose Luis Oquinena, Vice Mayor of Sara Neptali Salcedo Jr.,Vice Mayor-elect Jesus Salcedo,Monsanto-GK Village President Hadjie Balome,housing beneficiary Liza Lacival,housing beneficiary Josie Grapa,land owner Ruth Tirol Jarantilla,Monsanto Philippines Country Commercial Lead Rachel Lomibao, and Monsanto Philippine Corporate Engagement Lead Charina Garrido-Ocampo

In all this, GK has received support from companies who want to make other people’s lives better. One of these organizations that GK has collaborated with is Monsanto Philippines who helped provide shelter to the families who lost their homes to Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Three years ago, Typhoon Yolanda left many families in Barangay Aldeguer, Sara, Iloilo homeless and vulnerable. Thus, Gawad Kalinga and Monsanto Philippines built 54 houses in two phases. The first phase of the project comprised 30 units that were completed in 2015 while the second phase of 24 units was completed this year. Now, 232 families have houses to call their own.

“Almost three years after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda, access to safe shelter and sustainable livelihoods remain a challenge among communities that were hardest hit by the calamity. As in any other recovery effort, we see it important to ensure that these communities have the solid foundation to start anew and the resilience to withstand future shocks from the environment,” Monsanto Philippines Country Lead Rachel Lomibao said during the turnover ceremony held recently.

According to GK Executive Director Jose Luis Oquiñena, each housing unit is disaster-resilient that can withstand strong winds of possible super typhoons in the future. The housing project is also a holistic approach towards development of the community’s overall well-being as it incorporates livelihood development programs and values formation training./

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