Hundreds of Taclobanon families will be having a splendid Christmas this year, thanks to a project called the ‘Pope Francis Village’.
The project is a joint initiative by Catholic church organizations from the Philippines and abroad. Its aim is to provide a permanent relocation site for the survivors of the 2013 Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Jing Rey Henderson, the communications and partnership development coordinator of Nassa/Caritas Philippines, says the Pope Francis Village is different from other housing projects. He tells UCA News how their beneficiaries are very much involved in the project’s decision-making processes, mentioning that their goal is to instill among the future homeowners a “strong sense of ownership and responsibility towards their homes.”
This unique setup was confirmed by Yolanda Sembrero, one of the housing recipients. The mother of four tells SunStar Philippines that she takes pride in her new home as she was “very involved during the building of the house, from choosing and buying the right materials up to the construction.”
Most of the housing recipients are fisher folk from the 17 coastal areas in Tacloban. This is also the reason why the relocation site was placed just seven kilometers away from the seashore. Joli Torella of the Urban Poor Associates says that with such strategic location, residents of the Pope Francis village will still be able to “sustain a decent living” as they “will only spend P9 for their travel [to work].”
The Pope Francis Village is an initiative by a consortium of non-government organizations such as Caritas Canada, Canadian Catholic for Development and Peace, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-Nassa), Archdiocese of Palo through Caritas-Palo, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and Urban Poor Associates. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, just in time for Christmas.
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