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Australian Government awards $1M to Gawad Kalinga for Typhoon Haiyan Rebuilding
[Date Created: July 27, 2015]

Last January 24, 2014, the Australian Government through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), led by Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, awarded Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, Inc. (GK) a $1 Million grant for the benefit of the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) survivors.

“Thousands of families have been left without shelter but thanks to the generosity of the Australian people and the Australian Government, GK will provide safe shelter for 250 families,” says Luis Oquiñena, Executive Director of GK.

The grant has benefited Typhoon Haiyan survivors through (a) the provision of shelter, and (b) the development of livelihood programs. A total of 250 families have been provided with safe shelter located in Palo, Leyte: 140 families in Brgy. San Agustin and 110 families in Brgy. Libertad.

Luis Oquiñena (ED of GK) and Graeme Newton (CEO of Queensland Reconstruction Authority)
with the beneficiaries of San Agustin GK Village in Palo, Leyte

Furthermore, the grant has provided livelihood opportunities to the survivors to help them recover and regain their sources of income:

  1. The Farmer’s Assistance provided seedlings and capital support to 40-50 rice farmers for them to replant rice and get back to their regular cropping cycle.
  2. The Community Wholesale Center/Wet Market near the GK community benefits the residents by giving them easy access to their basic daily needs and an opportunity to open their own small retail stalls. 
  3. The Concrete Hollow Block (CHB) Manufacturing (a) trains and equips the residents on CHB production and (b) addresses the volume and quality of GK’s CHB requirements.
  4. The Gawad Kalinga Accredited Workers’ Association (GAWA) Skills Training program organizes the blue-collared informal workers, provides them with values formation, develops their work ethics and technical skills and connects them to concrete opportunities using GK’s network of partners.

Today, July 28, 2015, the Australian Government through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) together with the local government units (LGUs) of Palo and Tacloban City, Gawad Kalinga (GK), Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will formally hand over the new homes to the Haiyan survivors in a joint ceremony at Palo Municipal Hall. The ceremony will be attended by Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell, Leyte Provincial Governor Dominic Petilla, Palo Municipal Mayor Remedios Petilla, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, PRC Chairman Richard Gordon, GK Executive Director Luis Oquiñena, CRS Emergency Coordinator Joshua Kyller, barangay leaders and most importantly, the 250 families who can now start rebuilding their lives in their new homes.

“The homes donated by the Australian government are a big help to us. We are now living comfortably in our new homes. We feel safe because our homes are sturdier now than what we had before Typhoon Yolanda. If it wasn’t for the generosity of the Australian government, we wouldn’t have homes that are so beautiful and sturdy,” says Shyrlina Muhammad, one of the beneficiaries of the grant.

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