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If each of us takes part in caring and sharing, the overwhelming challenge of poverty can be addressed. Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.

Aurora GK Village: A Mother’s Legacy

by Araceli Rosal Barclay


The GK village will be named after Aurora Ferrer Rosal, the author’s mother

Immediately after Typhoon Haiyan (known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) ravaged and devastated SE Asia, particularly the Philippines, I set out to find a way to help with sustainable, long-term recovery efforts. I researched and interviewed many Filipinos, both in the Philippines and in the US, in search of an NGO that had a good track record in response to such calamitous events. Gawad Kalinga (GK) kept coming to the foreground, being highly regarded for its exemplary approach, long term focus and tangible results. Since focusing on GK, David (my husband) and I have also talked to a few leaders of international NGOs who reiterate the high praise.

Gawad Kalinga: ‘To give care’

The Barclays (3rd and 4th from left) with Gawad Kalinga representatives in Los Angeles, California, USA

GK builds communities and empowers those poor communities to be self-reliant and sustainable through livelihood programs. GK partners with individuals and corporations who fund the costs of building materials. Land is donated by local governments or landowners. Labor is provided by the prospective residents as sweat equity and supplemented by other volunteers and skilled labor. GK has built over 2,000 communities which have helped provide land for the landless, an important step out of poverty.

In February of this year, my son Chris Barclay and I visited GK’s model village, the Enchanted Farm in Bulacan, an hour’s drive from Manila. There we met Tony Meloto, GK’s founder, who explained his vision of homes, education, economic opportunities and entrepreneurship that will uplift the poor and the homeless.

San Isidro, Leyte

A week later, Chris and I flew to Leyte and saw the devastation. Very little in the way of improvements or rebuilding has been done. Because the transmission lines are still down, only 25% of the island has electricity, even though the geothermal power plant is up and running. Buildings that are still standing are damaged and roofless, rubble is everywhere, and people are living in tents which get blown down in storms. School is in session and children are surrounded by debris from the typhoon and most classrooms have no roofs. Some classes are held inside donated tents.


The San Isidro build site was donated by the Ang Family, a local landowner. GK will build 38 homes (there are 2 existing homes already built). The homes that will be built are designed to withstand storms. In addition to the homes, other structures to be built include a preschool, a community center, and a livelihood program building.

In Filipino tradition, GK has asked us to come up with a name for the village
and we have decided on
Village Aurora.
Aurora means Dawn, and is also the name of my mother:
Aurora Ferrer Rosal.

6 months after Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) made landfall and wreaked havoc in the Philippines,
GK is now on FULL BLAST with Yolanda reconstruction. (Read the full report)

Through the combined efforts and resources of partners, volunteers, GK workers and our very own residents, we have made significant headway in our roof repair, Balangay (fishing boats distribution) and housing reconstruction. Like the Barclays, you too can be part of Operation Walang Iwanan and help GK in rebuilding. We need YOU to help SCALE UP so we can each more families faster.

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