Hearts and Hands2020-01-31T05:01:43+08:00

Welcome to Hearts and Hands!

Our Volunteer Programs Quarterly E-Newsletter

Volunteers are the heart and hands of Habitat for Humanity Philippines. Through various engagement opportunities, people from all walks of life help families build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. This quarterly publication features volunteer activities and recognizes volunteers who selflessly gave their time and skills to Habitat. 

Passion to mission

Young real estate entrepreneur Jardin Wong mobilizes PHP2 million for Habitat for Humanity Philippines’ Bahay ni Juan Campaign

(PASAY CITY, September 28, 2022) Turning his passion into a purpose-filled mission, young housing advocate and Mosaic Realty and Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Jardin Wong handed over two checks worth Php2,031,044 to Habitat for Humanity Philippines CEO Mardi Mapa-Suplido, in support of the organization’s Bahay ni Juan individual giving campaign.

The amount was raised during Wong’s birthday celebration for a cause last September 3, in which his family and friends were encouraged to donate to Habitat Philippines instead of giving gifts. As his birthday pledge, Wong matched the individual donations of his friends to double the gift impact. Also serving as the Chief Operations Officer of Golden Bay Landholdings, Wong, with his advocacy to support decent housing for less privileged Filipino families, inspired the Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. to fund the construction of 10 houses for low-income families through Habitat Philippines’ housing program.

“This year marks a major milestone for me and Habitat for Humanity as we organized and staged the ‘Birthday for a cause’ celebration for the benefit of their ‘Bahay ni Juan’ campaign. I thank family, friends, and partner organizations that contributed immensely to the success of the event. The collective effort and contribution of everyone allowed us to exceed donation targets, providing an impetus for future fundraising activities. We are hopeful that we can continue to inspire more people to contribute their time and resources to solving the housing issue here in our country so that every Juan can have a decent home,” said Wong, who also joined the launch of the Bahay ni Juan campaign last July 9, together with Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford and young leaders from Habitat Philippines’ youth groups and campus chapters.

On behalf of Habitat Philippines, Mapa-Suplido expressed her gratitude for Wong and appreciation for his advocacy to help uplift the lives of Filipino families through decent shelter. “It’s amazing how one person’s initiative can inspire multitudes and make an impact. We are grateful for Jardin’s passionate support and his network for heeding the call to contribute to building decent homes and communities for every Juan. We would like to encourage more people like Jardin Wong to be part of ‘Bahay ni Juan.’ Together, we’ll be able to change lives through decent shelter.”

The Bahay ni Juan individual giving campaign aims to inspire people to help fund Habitat Philippines’ programs for housing, community development, disaster risk reduction and response, hygiene promotion, and volunteer mobilization that all contribute to helping low-income Filipino families access safe, decent, affordable, and disaster-resilient homes. Support the Bahay ni Juan Campaign by donating at habitat.org.ph/bahaynijuan/.

Paknaan Housing Project

80 families receive new homes under Habitat Philippines’ Paknaan Housing Project in Mandaue City

(MANDAUE CITY, CEBU) “I grew up homeless at a very young age when my mother passed away. Life has been so difficult for us. We were living along the creek. We never knew when we would be forced to leave,” recalled Queenie Gacang, 27 years old. She added, “I prayed to have our own home, far from this place, to start anew, and to turn around my story completely.”

Queenie is just one of the 80 informal settler families, who used to live along the Mahiga Creek and in other danger zones in Mandaue City, Cebu. For many years, they spent their lives in precarious housing conditions, fearing demolition and environmental hazards. But their lives are about to change through Habitat for Humanity Philippines, its partners, and donors.

Intending to help families move into safer, disaster-resilient homes in sustainable communities, Habitat Philippines has turned over 80 new homes to members of the Nawanao Riverside B Homeowners Association. The partnership project with the local government of Mandaue, the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) Region 7, and eight donors, relocates families to a new community in 6.5 Relocation Site, Zone Ahos, Barangay Paknaan.

“The Paknaan Housing Project is a testimony of how strengthening public-private-people partnerships could result in a concrete, impactful initiative and help vulnerable families rise from the agony of living in poor housing conditions. It took us eight years to complete this project due to challenges in site development. But we did not falter, and our now homeowners never lost their faith. By working together with a shared goal, these families finally have a decent home for the first time in their lives. It’s always a surreal feeling to hand over a key that will open not only the door of their new home but also life-changing opportunities starting today,” remarked Habitat Philippines chief executive officer Mardi Mapa-Suplido.

Joining the handover of new homes last July 12, 2022 was Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford, who visited the Philippines for a week-long set of events and activities in Manila, Negros Occidental, and Cebu. Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes opened the program, recognizing the efforts of the partners, who contributed to the completion of the project.

“We wanted to showcase that we can do a housing project at the heart of the city and this partnership with Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful inspiration. It is my hope that these houses will turn into homes where its residents can live with dignity to improve their quality of life. I hope that a vibrant community will emerge – one that is empowered and a partner to this city’s growth. I would like to thank and congratulate all those who are involved in this noble effort. You have contributed to improving the well-being of these families, as well as to giving them hope for a better tomorrow,” said Cortes.

The Paknaan Housing Project started in 2014 as part of the river rehabilitation program, which resulted from massive flooding in the area in 2011. Through the funding support from SHFC’s Community Mortgage Program, the 6.5-hectare government land in Zone Ahos was devoted to the project, leading to the construction of 80 row house units.

“We are joined here today to witness the joy of our home partners as they receive the keys to their new homes. This success is not without the collaboration of our partners, most especially the local government of Mandaue City and Habitat for Humanity Philippines. Thank you for your heartfelt commitment to provide decent homes for underprivileged families. The Social Housing Finance Corporation remains 100% committed to be your partner in this endeavor,” said Engr. Randolph Librando, Officer-in-Charge/Manager of SHFC Region 7.

Habitat Philippines’ partners and donors helped fill the funding gap to complete the houses. Through its global partnership with Habitat for Humanity, SC Johnson funded 25 houses in their commitment to helping build safe, disaster-resilient homes and improve the lives of people in their communities.

“At SC Johnson, we have always believed that we should have a positive impact in communities around the world. Wherever we operate, we should help make that place better because we are there. We are proud of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity. It has enabled us the opportunity to create pathways for greater social mobility for underserved communities where we operate. Access to safe, equitable housing and hygiene facilities are essential needs for every family and we are glad to be able to support in the provision of that,” said Alan VanderMolen, SC Johnson’s Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer.

A steadfast partner of Habitat Philippines for many years, Wells Fargo has supported the construction of 21 housing units, true to its mission to advocate for diversity, social inclusion, economic empowerment and resiliency, and improved well-being through housing.

“I am proud of our community partners for doing what they have to do to build not just houses, but homes which fill a community with hope, love, and dreams to build a better future. Let us continue to aspire to make Philippine communities safer and stronger,” said Sandeep Mulajkar, Country Head, Wells Fargo Philippines.

Other donors that supported the completion of the 80 houses include the JTI Philippines, Henkel Foundation, Latria Construction Company, Bloomberg, American Wire and Cable Company, Inc., and the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation.

Newly married and blessed with a new home of their own, Queenie and her husband, James, can start building their family and live comfortably and worry-free. “Nothing could express the joy in our hearts when finally, one of our dreams has become a reality. This housing project will help us raise our future children and they will remember this legacy that we built as they pass it on to future generations,” beamed Queenie as she received the key to her new home.

Negros Occidental Impact 2025

Providing disaster-resilient houses to vulnerable informal settler families

Housing is absolutely essential to human flourishing. Without stable shelter, it all falls apart.

Matthew Desmond

It was a dream Rowena Bublo, 48, and her husband longed for: a house they can call their own. She couldn’t help but be nostalgic as she recalls how excited her husband was at the prospect of having their own house.

“My husband looked forward to this house, one that is concrete and has no leaking roof. While I’m sad that he didn’t get to live here, I know he is happy that we now have a house where we can sleep comfortably,” Rowena said. Her husband died in a car crash even before they could start with their sweat equity. Sweat equity requires potential unit owners to contribute to building their houses through various forms of labor that range from construction work to administrative work.

Rowena’s family is just among the 322 who benefitted from Habitat for Humanity’s housing project in Silay City, Negros Occidental. Built using Cement Bamboo Frame (CBF) Technology, the house has proven to be disaster-resilient as it survived torrential rains and violent winds of Typhoon Odette last December 2021.

CBF Technology, developed by Hilti Foundation and Base Bahay Foundation Inc., is a prefabricated frame system accredited by the Accreditation of Innovative Technologies for Housing (AITECH). It uses load-bearing bamboo with metal connections and mortar cement plaster. This system has been tested for resistance to earthquakes, typhoons, fire, and insect infestation.

CBF is not only disaster-resilient and environmentally friendly but also offers shelter innovation.

The Negros Occidental Impact 2025 Project

In 2019, Habitat for Humanity and the Hilti Foundation forged a partnership to bring the use of disaster-resilient CBF Technology to scale and help address the housing gap in Negros Occidental. Dubbed as the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25), the project aims to build 10,000 housing units in sustainable communities that are clean, green, safe, disaster-resilient, and progressive for the most vulnerable families.

Silay City is the pilot site of NOI25.

“The project is part of the Silay City government’s relocation program that aims to create a community for 534 families within the Bonbon Village Phase 3. The land is part of the property owned by the City of Silay. The Bonbon Village Phase 3 has a total area of 76,731.73 sq, meters, of which portions are allocated for open spaces, community facilities, and marketplace,” Mardi Mapa-Suplido, Habitat for Humanity Philippines chief executive officer explained.

Three more sites are identified as priority locations including San Carlos City with 230 units submitted for Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) accreditation and another 280 units under project development. A 230-unit housing project in La Carlota is also under project development.

The project is timely, if not urgent. In August 2021, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution declaring a housing crisis in the country and urged the executive department to mobilize resources to accelerate housing production and provide adequate housing to underserved families. In House Resolution 1677, Congress asked DHSUD and other concerned agencies “to immediately undertake the inventory of idle government lands and fast track the development and disposition of these properties for socialized housing, in partnership with the private sector.” Negros Occidental District 3 Representative Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez said idle or empty government lands must be used to build houses for Filipinos.

The government estimated that the country’s current housing requirements is at 6.7 million units, which could balloon further to 22 million by 2040 if not addressed.

Of the many potential project sites, Habitat for Humanity selected the province of Negros Occidental as the pilot area because of three main reasons: there are about 166,000 informal settler families (ISFs) in the province; it is disaster-prone; and bamboos are predominant in the area.

“The success of this project is anchored on the public-private-people partnerships that ensure the implementation of the four project components: appropriate land and site development, adequate and timely financing, viable construction technology and design, and cohesive communities,” Mapa-Suplido added. Recipients of the housing project play a vital role in the NOI25 project by taking part in every step of building the houses.

NOI25 in San Carlos City

In San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, around 200 volunteers composed of local government leaders, local housing officers, future homeowners, youth, corporate donors, and housing partners gathered last July 11, 2022 to help build homes at the SCMCI Site, Barangay Palampas, where 230 new houses are soon to rise under the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25) Project.

One of the partnership projects under NOI25, the San Carlos Milling Company, Inc (SCMCI) Socialized Housing Project in San Carlos City supports sustainable development and offers a hand-up not a hand-out approach – capacitating identified low-income vulnerable families to build their strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

The project is part of the city government’s relocation program to support ISFs living in danger zones, privately owned lands, and areas with government development plans. The project aims to create a community composed of 230 houses within the three-hectare land owned by the city government. It is a relocation program for SCMCI homeowners’ association (HOA) members composed of employees and tenants displaced from the SCMCI land, which was foreclosed and is now owned by Metrobank.

The target recipients of the project are ISFs, mostly senior citizens, who lost their employment in 2000. They were those who were unable to find regular jobs with the same level of income as SCMCI or people who are dependent only on their SSS pension which is at P7,000/month, and those whose age and income level will not qualify them for a home mortgage.

One of the future homeowners in San Carlos is 66-year-old Wilma Barcoma.

“When my husband passed away in 2010 due to cancer of lymphoma, my children and I were at a loss how to survive. We lived with my sister-in-law and took on different jobs to earn a living. Two years ago, I’m fortunate to be one of the homeowners of Habitat’s housing project,” Wilma shared. Despite her old age, Wilma shares in sweat equity – not the hard labor like construction works, but something that people of her age can still do.

“I remove the weeds on the field. I joined the tree-planting activities. I also bring snacks to workers. This is my contribution and it gives me pride that even if I am already a senior citizen, I can still help and fulfill my ‘dagyaw’,” she said beaming with pride as she recalls the work that she does. Dagyaw is the local term for sweat equity.

Wilma’s house is still under construction but she already looks forward to living in a home she can call her own. “I look at those houses with high regards. I dream of living happily with my neighbors. Because we all participate in sweat equity, I already know my future neighbors and I am excited to start a business here,” she enthused.

Each socialized housing unit costs around P530,000. The cost covers direct construction cost, community capacity development, and HOA formation.

“We just don’t build houses. We make sure that our communities are organized and cohesive so we also support them in forming their homeowners’ association and helping build the capacity of the HOA to lead and manage the community towards development and sustainability,” Mapa-Suplido noted.

Habitat for Humanity International chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford on his week-long visit to the Philippines emphasized the importance of partnerships in his meetings with key stakeholders: the local government of Negros Occidental, donors, volunteers, and families.

“Crucial support from partners has helped move forward this Negros Occidental Impact 2025 project, which is designed to provide thousands of housing units. Using the Cement Bamboo Frame technology will enable families to build disaster-resilient eco-friendly homes, in a country visited by an average of 20 typhoons and storms in a year,” said Reckford during his visit to San Carlos, where he joined more than 200 volunteers and participants to build houses. “We need to be bold and courageous together to address the housing issues in a country, and to be fully committed to building homes, one community at a time.”

The NOI25 project complements San Carlos City’s housing program for low-income families making it more holistic to efficiently address poor housing conditions. “Decent homes help low-income families build a foundation to get on in life. What is more meaningful aside from the recognition of our efforts is that recipients can become more productive, upgrading their standards of living because of improved houses or dwellings,” added San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo.

The construction of the SCMCI Socialized Housing Project is envisioned to be completed in two years.

Learn more about the NOI25 Project here.

Providing disaster-resilient houses to vulnerable informal settler families

Housing is absolutely essential to human flourishing. Without stable shelter, it all falls apart.

Matthew Desmond

It was a dream Rowena Bublo, 48, and her husband longed for: a house they can call their own. She couldn’t help but be nostalgic as she recalls how excited her husband was at the prospect of having their own house.

“My husband looked forward to this house, one that is concrete and has no leaking roof. While I’m sad that he didn’t get to live here, I know he is happy that we now have a house where we can sleep comfortably,” Rowena said. Her husband died in a car crash even before they could start with their sweat equity. Sweat equity requires potential unit owners to contribute to building their houses through various forms of labor that range from construction work to administrative work.

Rowena’s family is just among the 322 who benefitted from Habitat for Humanity’s housing project in Silay City, Negros Occidental. Built using Cement Bamboo Frame (CBF) Technology, the house has proven to be disaster-resilient as it survived torrential rains and violent winds of Typhoon Odette last December 2021.

CBF Technology, developed by Hilti Foundation and Base Bahay Foundation Inc., is a prefabricated frame system accredited by the Accreditation of Innovative Technologies for Housing (AITECH). It uses load-bearing bamboo with metal connections and mortar cement plaster. This system has been tested for resistance to earthquakes, typhoons, fire, and insect infestation.

CBF is not only disaster-resilient and environmentally friendly but also offers shelter innovation.

The Negros Occidental Impact 2025 Project

In 2019, Habitat for Humanity and the Hilti Foundation forged a partnership to bring the use of disaster-resilient CBF Technology to scale and help address the housing gap in Negros Occidental. Dubbed as the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25), the project aims to build 10,000 housing units in sustainable communities that are clean, green, safe, disaster-resilient, and progressive for the most vulnerable families.

Silay City is the pilot site of NOI25.

“The project is part of the Silay City government’s relocation program that aims to create a community for 534 families within the Bonbon Village Phase 3. The land is part of the property owned by the City of Silay. The Bonbon Village Phase 3 has a total area of 76,731.73 sq, meters, of which portions are allocated for open spaces, community facilities, and marketplace,” Mardi Mapa-Suplido, Habitat for Humanity Philippines chief executive officer explained.

Three more sites are identified as priority locations including San Carlos City with 230 units submitted for Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) accreditation and another 280 units under project development. A 230-unit housing project in La Carlota is also under project development.

The project is timely, if not urgent. In August 2021, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution declaring a housing crisis in the country and urged the executive department to mobilize resources to accelerate housing production and provide adequate housing to underserved families. In House Resolution 1677, Congress asked DHSUD and other concerned agencies “to immediately undertake the inventory of idle government lands and fast track the development and disposition of these properties for socialized housing, in partnership with the private sector.” Negros Occidental District 3 Representative Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez said idle or empty government lands must be used to build houses for Filipinos.

The government estimated that the country’s current housing requirements is at 6.7 million units, which could balloon further to 22 million by 2040 if not addressed.

Of the many potential project sites, Habitat for Humanity selected the province of Negros Occidental as the pilot area because of three main reasons: there are about 166,000 informal settler families (ISFs) in the province; it is disaster-prone; and bamboos are predominant in the area.

“The success of this project is anchored on the public-private-people partnerships that ensure the implementation of the four project components: appropriate land and site development, adequate and timely financing, viable construction technology and design, and cohesive communities,” Mapa-Suplido added. Recipients of the housing project play a vital role in the NOI25 project by taking part in every step of building the houses.

NOI25 in San Carlos City

In San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, around 200 volunteers composed of local government leaders, local housing officers, future homeowners, youth, corporate donors, and housing partners gathered last July 11, 2022 to help build homes at the SCMCI Site, Barangay Palampas, where 230 new houses are soon to rise under the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25) Project.

***

One of the partnership projects under NOI25, the San Carlos Milling Company, Inc (SCMCI) Socialized Housing Project in San Carlos City supports sustainable development and offers a hand-up not a hand-out approach – capacitating identified low-income vulnerable families to build their strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

The project is part of the city government’s relocation program to support ISFs living in danger zones, privately owned lands, and areas with government development plans. The project aims to create a community composed of 230 houses within the three-hectare land owned by the city government. It is a relocation program for SCMCI homeowners’ association (HOA) members composed of employees and tenants displaced from the SCMCI land, which was foreclosed and is now owned by Metrobank.

The target recipients of the project are ISFs, mostly senior citizens, who lost their employment in 2000. They were those who were unable to find regular jobs with the same level of income as SCMCI or people who are dependent only on their SSS pension which is at P7,000/month, and those whose age and income level will not qualify them for a home mortgage.

One of the future homeowners in San Carlos is 66-year-old Wilma Barcoma.

“When my husband passed away in 2010 due to cancer of lymphoma, my children and I were at a loss how to survive. We lived with my sister-in-law and took on different jobs to earn a living. Two years ago, I’m fortunate to be one of the homeowners of Habitat’s housing project,” Wilma shared. Despite her old age, Wilma shares in sweat equity – not the hard labor like construction works, but something that people of her age can still do.

“I remove the weeds on the field. I joined the tree-planting activities. I also bring snacks to workers. This is my contribution and it gives me pride that even if I am already a senior citizen, I can still help and fulfill my ‘dagyaw’,” she said beaming with pride as she recalls the work that she does. Dagyaw is the local term for sweat equity.

Wilma’s house is still under construction but she already looks forward to living in a home she can call her own. “I look at those houses with high regards. I dream of living happily with my neighbors. Because we all participate in sweat equity, I already know my future neighbors and I am excited to start a business here,” she enthused.

Each socialized housing unit costs around P530,000. The cost covers direct construction cost, community capacity development, and HOA formation.

“We just don’t build houses. We make sure that our communities are organized and cohesive so we also support them in forming their homeowners’ association and helping build the capacity of the HOA to lead and manage the community towards development and sustainability,” Mapa-Suplido noted.

Habitat for Humanity International chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford on his week-long visit to the Philippines emphasized the importance of partnerships in his meetings with key stakeholders: the local government of Negros Occidental, donors, volunteers, and families.

“Crucial support from partners has helped move forward this Negros Occidental Impact 2025 project, which is designed to provide thousands of housing units. Using the Cement Bamboo Frame technology will enable families to build disaster-resilient eco-friendly homes, in a country visited by an average of 20 typhoons and storms in a year,” said Reckford during his visit to San Carlos, where he joined more than 200 volunteers and participants to build houses. “We need to be bold and courageous together to address the housing issues in a country, and to be fully committed to building homes, one community at a time.”

The NOI25 project complements San Carlos City’s housing program for low-income families making it more holistic to efficiently address poor housing conditions. “Decent homes help low-income families build a foundation to get on in life. What is more meaningful aside from the recognition of our efforts is that recipients can become more productive, upgrading their standards of living because of improved houses or dwellings,” added San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo.

The construction of the SCMCI Socialized Housing Project is envisioned to be completed in two years.

Learn more about the NOI25 Project here.

Bahay ni Juan Campaign Launch

Bayanihan para sa

Habitat for Humanity Philippines, youth leaders urge the public
to help build decent homes for every Juan

With a staggering 6.7 million housing need in the country, Habitat for Humanity Philippines stresses the urgency to help address the housing crisis before it balloons further by encouraging the public to be part of the solution and underlining their contribution to help build decent homes and sustainable communities for every Juan.

Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Reckford joins youth leaders and advocates from top universities in the Philippines and community youth groups in calling everyone to help fill the housing gap during the launch of Habitat Philippines’ “Bahay ni Juan” individual giving program at the Makati Sports Club last July 9, 2022.

Leading the campaign launch was Habitat Philippines CEO Mardi Mapa-Suplido saying, “Habitat Philippines has always believed in the power of every individual to help fulfill our mission of building homes, communities, and hope. Each one of us, even in our small ways, can create ripples of impact that can change the course of a family’s life through shelter. With ‘Bahay ni Juan,’ we aim to be the channel for everyone to help make the dream of low-income Filipino families come true. One home is equivalent to one hope. And for every hope we give a family, we are giving them endless opportunities to build a better life for their children and their children’s children. This will be our legacy – transforming lives together through decent shelter.”

The “Bahay ni Juan” campaign aims to inspire people to help fund Habitat Philippines’ programs for housing, community development, disaster risk reduction and response, hygiene promotion, and volunteer mobilization that all contribute to helping low-income Filipino families access safe, decent, affordable, and disaster-resilient homes. The campaign’s tagline, “A home from you is hope for them,” reiterates how decent shelter can transform the lives of Filipino families by providing them a solid foundation to have better opportunities, breaking the cycle of poverty.

For just Php17 a day, a giver can help provide one concrete hollow block, a sturdy raw material to build the foundation of a house. Collectively, not only can givers help build homes, but also develop and empower communities towards sustainability and progress.

Housing advocate and former Habitat for Humanity Blue Chapter President from the Ateneo de Manila University, Arissa Kitchy Dy, led the youth in expressing their support for the campaign.

“To learn and understand more about the housing issue and its multi-faceted nature. It’s through this that I grew passionate about it, and maybe the same will happen for others. Building homes isn’t just a matter of accumulating volunteer hours nor creating jobs in construction. Once you understand how decent shelter is connected to other critical issues in our country, housing now becomes pivotal to our overall development,” said Dy.

Joining Reckford and Dy in the call for support were young housing advocates, businessmen, and entrepreneurs Jardin Wong, CEO of Mosaic Realty and Development Corporation, and Brian Poe-Llamanzares, CEO of Time Masters Watches.

Having a magnified view of how providing decent housing can help people become more productive and contribute to nation-building, Wong said, “it is integral to harness every bit of effort if we want to achieve maximum efficiency and address the huge housing backlog. There are myriad ways to make a difference. Donating and volunteering to esteemed organizations like Habitat is a structured and worry-free way of doing this. If you have the resources, you can go above and beyond and establish your own fundraising activities. Another way is to support the development of innovative and sustainable building materials that can make building homes more affordable and eco-friendly.”

As a public servant and youth advocate, Poe-Llamanzares aims to bring together key opinion leaders and inspire more people to take part in promoting the advocacy for housing. He said, “Running relief efforts and rebuilding has always been a part of my work as a public servant and a fellow Filipino. They say home is where the heart is. Building a decent home can make a world of difference for a family. It’s the first step in living a decent life. Hopefully, young politicians in congress can prioritize the passage of the disaster risk reduction and management act and push for more funding for quality national housing programs.”

Prior to launching the campaign, Habitat young leaders gathered for a Youth Assembly to share their best practices, learnings, and commitments to achieving sustainable development goals through actively participating in community-building and organizing social impact initiatives.

As one of the Asia-Pacific countries with strong youth engagement, Habitat Philippines has been mobilizing young advocates and volunteers for the past 34 years to be part of its mission of building homes, communities, and hope. The organization has established 18 youth organizations across the country, including seven campus chapters and 11 community youth groups. Some of the most notable campaigns and projects involving the Habitat youth include Habitat Young Leaders Build, Leadership Academy, and the Philippines Youth Congress.

Support the Bahay ni Juan Campaign by donating at habitat.org.ph/bahaynijuan/.

Foundation for Security

PAKNAAN HOUSING PROJECT IN MANDAUE CITY, CEBU


Part of Mandaue City’s River Rehabilitation Program, the Paknaan Housing Project will support 80 informal settler families, who used to live along the Mahiga Creek. Project implementation began in 2017 but due to challenges in site development, the house construction was halted.

In 2019, house construction resumed but was once again hindered by the pandemic in 2020. Amidst the obstacles, we upheld our commitment to help these low-income families have their own decent, affordable home, away from the danger zone and without fear of eviction.

That’s why, we have forged partnerships with private companies and strengthened our ties with the local government to pursue the construction in full swing. Future homeowners have also rolled up their sleeves to help build their homes as part of their 400-hour sweat equity.

Through collaboration, commitment, and shared purpose to help provide safety and security through shelter, the Paknaan Housing Project is nearing completion as we target to relocate our partner families this 2022.

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Increasing Resiliency

KAWAYANVILLE HOUSING AND ECO-HUB CONSTRUCTION


In 2022, thirteen more low-income families will have a safer, adequate home to live in Kawayan Ville, Barangay 106, Tacloban City, Leyte through our steadfast partnership with Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI). This housing project is a continuity of our interventions to help Typhoon Haiyan-affected families shelter in place and rise with resiliency. Aside from the 13 row-house units, capacity development programs focusing on solid waste management will also be conducted to help develop a clean, healthy, environment-friendly community.

To promote sustainability in the community, PSFI, in partnership with Green Antz Builders Inc., also supported the construction of an eco-hub, a facility that collects and recycles plastic waste, and manufactures green building materials.

We have also organized a Community Development Orientation Workshop for the Tacloban North Eco-Hub, a volunteer group for the Kawayanville Eco-Brick Project, to further understand the needs of the community and how they can help address them.

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A Teacher’s Calling

Being a teacher is not just a profession but a vocation. What teachers like Marilou Dechosa and Benito Manguiob value more than imparting academic lessons is supporting the overall growth, development, and nutrition of their students.

Grade 6 Teacher Marilou heads the Tagbaobo Elementary School’s feeding program. With the support of her co-teachers and the parents of their students, they put up a makeshift kitchen for their regular feeding activities. However, it was a struggle to prepare food for the students due to the lack of equipment, water access, and a conducive space for dining. When they had to halt the program because of the pandemic, Marilou wanted to continue enriching the students’ nutrition. So, she and her colleagues distributed fresh milk to students in their homes. Still, she constantly worried where to store the milk as they did not have the means and the facility.

In Bandera Elementary School, Head Teacher Benito was also concerned about their school feeding program. The room where the program was conducted before was primarily used for kindergarten classes and the teachers had to wait until dismissal before they could start food preparation. As a result, many students who were waiting for long would end up missing the distribution and going home with an empty stomach. Moreover, Benito knew the feeding program needed more support from parents but without a proper facility, they found it hard to engage them in the program.

Now with a new multi-purpose center in their school, Marilou and Benito are delighted and excited to serve more students not only for their respective feeding programs but also for other functions such as conferences, special education classes, bible studies, and community-related activities. With these new facilities, it would be easier for Marilou and Benito to fulfill their calling and help their students grow and learn better.

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Progressing Communities

COMMUNITY FACILITIES: MULTIPURPOSE CENTERS IN DAVAO


Communal facilities and infrastructures are essential to bolster the development of communities towards holistic progress. In Davao Region, we have completed five multi-purpose centers (MPCs) designed to provide space for livelihood training, educational programs, and other community-related functions.

For this fiscal year, we built two MPCs in Tagbaobo Elementary School and Bandera Elementary School in the Island Garden City of Samal and one MPC in Toril, Davao City through our partnership with DMI Medical Supply, Inc.

Utilized for special education classes, feeding programs, and capacity-building training, these facilities will serve 232 students and 30 families.

Since 2018, our partnership with DMI Medical Supply has benefitted 3,034 students and 86 faculty staff through the construction of schools and MPCs. These facilities not only help foster growth and development and nurture learning among children but also enhance economic activity and build camaraderie among members of the community.

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Intensifying Efforts

THE NEGROS OCCIDENTAL IMPACT 2025 (NOI25) PROJECT


Three years after breaking new grounds, house construction, community development, and partnership building has been in full swing for the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25) project. Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, we have completed 298 homes in Silay City, the pilot location of the NOI25 project. For Fiscal Year 2021, 100 new housing units have been constructed using Base Bahay Foundation’s Cement Bamboo Frame Technology, providing families a safer place to live in.

We continue to scale up the impact by urging local government units to be part of the project and supporting them in crafting comprehensive local shelter plans. Last May 18 to 20, 2021, we organized a virtual orientation and workshop for local government housing officers in Negros Occidental in partnership with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development. The three-day event focused on designing, implementing, and evaluating an effective local shelter plan with speakers from different government agencies.

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Empowering a Generation of Advocates

HABITAT YOUNG LEADERS BUILD


In Fiscal Year 2021, we reached a new milestone as we celebrated 10 years of Habitat Young Leaders Build (HYLB). Kicking off the annual HYLB, our seven Campus Chapters joined forces for two significant projects.

They staged the first Habitat Philippines youth-led webinar called “Beyond the Concrete,” which sought to enlighten audiences on the importance of decent shelter from a multi-sectoral perspective. The two-hour webinar gathered experts from the academe, local government, non-profit sector, and construction industry and 169 registered participants. To help less privileged students cope with distance learning challenges, the Campus Chapters also initiated the “Bigay Bukas” fundraising drive and distributed learning kits to 521 children and students in seven communities.

Our youth leaders also stepped up as a beacon of hope for families in need. The Navotaas Homes PASSA Youth Group and a group of young advocates in Ilocos Sur led by Leadership Academy Facilitator Jeric Aren Dedicatoria organized their own community pantry to reach out to families in their own way.

Watch Campus Chapter Presidents as they kicked off HYLB with a call for the youth to help address the housing need here

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Volunteering in the New Normal

ZOOMBAHAYAN AND YOUTH VOLUNTEERISM: ONLINE VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT


Amidst the limitations brought by the pandemic, we’ve built a new connection with our dedicated volunteers through the launch of Zoombahayan – a virtual capacity-building program that aims to help families and communities build strength, stability, and self-reliance in the new normal.

Employee volunteers from our partner companies, organizations, and institutions facilitated online sessions and workshops on a wide variety of relevant topics such as anti-violence against women and children, financial literacy and management, economic sustainability, proper sanitation and hygiene practices, solid waste management, and career development.

Even though physical on-site activities were suspended, our youth leaders and advocates still found a way to reach out to their adopted communities through the support of our homeowners’ associations. They also successfully initiated donation drives to help address the needs of communities such as providing solar streetlights, improved internet connection for online learning, bicycles, educational materials, COVID-19 relief goods, and seedlings for community garden.

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Shelter as a Priority Matter

BAHAYNIHAN: RISING TOGETHER THROUGH HOUSING


As the country grapples with the pandemic’s economic, social, and health impacts, the housing crisis intensifies due to COVID-19. In the Fiscal Year 2021, Habitat for Humanity Philippines launched BAHAYnihan: Rising Together Through Housing, a series of online fora that aim to build awareness of the housing needs of the country and the unserved population.

In partnership with the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Research and Communication, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), BusinessWorld Insights, and the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, we have brought together leading experts in the housing sector for thought-provoking discussions on housing issues intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic while finding solutions to the Philippines’ increasing housing gap.

The forum sessions also tackled the role of the local government in providing adequate housing and the exploration of viable, inclusive, and mutually beneficial business solutions that can help close the housing gap and contribute to economic recovery.

Watch the BAHAYnihan playlist on our YouTube channel

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