Friday, May 16, 2014


By Harald Adler sscc, from the province of Germany, member of the community in Bagong Silang, Manila, The Philippines.

 Already before the ravage of YOLANDA the region Leyte was one of the poorest regions of the country.  Even more is this true of the remote villages in Northern Leyte. 
Artisanal fishery and coconut farming under tenancy relationship are the main forms of livelihood in the area. Fishermen sell their catches to middle men and they live on loans for emergency needs from these middlemen. Tenant farmer share is half of total harvests of coconuts every three months. Usually the families live on a cycle of loans from copra buyers. Even before the next harvests they incur loans for emergency needs and harvesting expenses.

The furious winds of Yolanda destroyed a great deal of coconut trees and damaged hectares of coconut farms in the area so that it will take at least 3 years before new coconuts can be harvested. And newly planted coconut trees will produce fruits only after ca. 7 years.

The fishermen to their part lost their fishing boats, smashed by the storm. How will they earn their livelihood without their boats?      
And the coconut farmers – who will give them subsistence loan when they have nothing to deliver to the copra buyer?

Still a large number of the population depends on the supply with rice, can goods, noodles, vegetables and also clothes, sandals, mats, tends, toiletries and school supplies.

But to provide sustainable assistance, to help people help themselves, we (the SSCC community in Bagong Silang) together with the Caritas Novaliches (CN) support especially 2 livelihood projects:

1. Vegetable Seed Distribution. Each of the 5 villages received 2.000  pockets of assorted vegetable. After clearing of fallen coconut trees, coconut farmers started to plant the vegetables for personal consumption and small scale vegetable trading.

At the right side is Fr. Marisis sscc

2. Boats for Fisher Folks.  A big part of the donations which we received especially from Ireland, Spain, USA and Germany we use to build 100 motorized fishing boats including 2 fishing nets (ca. 4.500 $/boat), distributed equally to the 5 villages.       We (SSCC) take over the funding of 50 boats. End of May the boats shall be finished and Fr. Marisi is invited to do the blessing before they will be turned-over to the selected beneficiaries.

 Other than that mentioned 2 livelihood projects CN organizes psycho-social and Medical, Dental and Optical activities. More than 4,000 patients were catered in the 5 villages.  Free medicines and eye glasses were given to the patients.

For the reconstruction of damaged houses corrugated and plain sheets were distributed, plywood, assorted nails, handsaw, hammer, measuring tape, and 20 units of chainsaw (donated by a Sisters’ Congregation). Some young men were trained to handle these chainsaws in the right way.
Another important project is a Scholarship Program for 25 underprivileged but deserving College-students, five from each of the five villages. The costs for this project will be high, because not only the expenses for the formation but also for board and lodge will incur.  Until graduation after four years for each student there must be provided (budget) ca. 300,000 Pesos = ca. 5,000 €; for 25 scholars that`s ca. 7,,500,000 Pesos = ca. 125,000 €. 
The pronounced goal of CN is to empower the young victims of YOLANDA through education and formation. A good formation will enable them to uplift their families from poverty and – hopefully - to contribute to the common development of their home places.

Two full time staff are appointed to coordinate and directly supervise the different projects.

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