Life has been more bearable for the 31 families that received their houses on the 7th September 2019 in Barangay Bacabac, Sara, Iloilo, Philippines.
This was the fourth village that was built for the victims of the super typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan) under the “Building houses, rebuilding lives” project financed by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, via the Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD).
The goal of the Project was to help in the rehabilitation of the communities strongly affected by the super typhoon. The first three villages were built in Borbon and Bogo (both in the city of Cebú, Philippines) and in Basey, Western Samar (in collaboration with the Daughters of Charity and the Vincentian Family in the Philippines).
In addition to building houses for the displaced families, two multi-purpose halls were built in Borbon (Cebú) and Sara (Iloilo), which are being used for community meetings, masses and other celebrations.
But the village we are talking about, rightly called “OZANAM village”, was handed over on the 7th September 2019 (days before the celebration of Antoine-Frédéric Ozanam’s feast day) to the families of Barangay Bagongong, a fishing community on the island of Concepcion, Iolio. Approximately a hectare of land was donated by the Tirol family to the SSVP Society in the Philippines.
The SSVP’s National President, Maria Carla Salandanan-Maglalang, was present when the houses were handed over, as well as the Director of ‘Rebuilding Lives’ Program, Ms. Mayleen A. Bernardino, as well as members of the National Executive Council and SSVP employees, along with members of the Archdiocesan Commission of Ioilo, members of the Vincentian Family and the Tirol family. The local government of Sara and Concepcion were also there.
To show their appreciation, the recipient families prepared a lunch for everyone to enjoy. Two children read poems in their local dialect (Ilonggo), dedicated to the SSVP: “Trahedya Hindi Makakalimutan” (Tragedy that can never be forgotten) and “Trahedya Kapalit ay Pag-asa” (Tragedy turned into hope) in which there was the following message: “Thank you so much to our dear Society for the homes you have given us. Wherever we may go, the name of the Society will forever be in our hearts”.
In February 2021, the recipients of the homes in the Ozanam Village became members of the Credit Cooperative of the SSVP in the Philippines, which is the main support for the “Building homes, Rebuilding Lives” project. Through this management, they were granted support loans to maintain their quality of life and help them achieve their hopes for a better future for themselves and their children.
The Ozanam village and the rest of the social living communities are a testament to the desire of the SSVP to accomplish a systemic change through Vincentian collaboration and, therefore, enable the people whom they help to be able to help others in turn.
We keep on embracing the world in a network of charity !