In 2021, Typhoon Odette damaged over 2 million houses all over the Philippines. Gaudencia, her 3 children, and her husband were among the families in Talisay, Cebu who lost their homes due to the typhoon.

They suffered more than two months without access to water, electricity, and phone service. During this time, they also had no source of income.

“My husband was a family driver. He had to stop working for two months because their company did not have electricity,” Gaudencia shared.

Adding to the burden of losing a home, water was also scarce and overpriced, amounting to Php100 per water gallon. “The lines just to get clean drinking water were so long. We would put our water gallons in line at night and get it by tomorrow morning,” she said.

Life after Typhoon Odette was almost unbearable for families like Gaudencia’s. Their home was the most precious to them and losing it, together with everything they built, made it even harder for them to bounce back from the impact of the disaster.

When Gaudencia learned about the housing project under Habitat Philippines’ Typhoon Odette Disaster Response Program, she was filled with hope and was ‘happy to hear the news’. Through the support of Wells Fargo and in partnership with the local government of Talisay, 17 families were assisted in building their core houses.

The families rendered 400 hours of sweat equity and worked together to help complete the construction of the 24-square-meter core house units. For them, as they were building their houses, it was as if they were rebuilding their lives.

Gaudencia shared, “We didn’t have money to buy a house, but by partnering with Habitat, we were able to use our small lot to rebuild our home.”

In January 2024, 27 families, including Gaudencia’s welcomed the new year with a fresh start as Habitat Philippines and its partners officially dedicated the core houses to them. For Gaudencia, it was a surreal moment.

Describing her new house, which now looks livelier with bright green paint, Gaudencia said, “Our house has a solid foundation now, unlike before. We’re safe whenever it’s raining, and we do not worry about water anymore. We’re now planning to improve our Habitat home and build a second floor.”

Gaudencia now has something to look forward to — getting back on her feet with a brighter future.

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