On March 13 2018, sixty famiy homes were burned to the ground by a fire at David St, Buendia in Manila, Philippines. This fundraiser is to help rebuild houses for those families that have been displaced by this disaster.
The funds will be used to purchase materials and labour to construct these homes. The cost of one home is approximately PHP (Philippine Pesos) 20,000 - 40,000 (approx. $AU 500 - 1000). The aim is to build 4 homes to begin with and then continue to build more homes should we get enough assistance.
The people of this community are incredibly resilient and remain positive given how little they have. I have visited the area in the past and received a heartwarming welcome and the generosity displayed by the people is inspiring. Their contentment and gratitude for their blessings is also very humbling. Three nights after the fire broke out, members of this community went to church to give thanks for the blessings that they still have. The positive outlook during such a challenging time is moving and I am not sure if I could be that hopeful given the circumstances. I am trying to rally as much support for these people to return some of the generosity and love that they truly deserve.
This fundraiser is also connected to me as one of the effected homes in this less fortunate community was my cousin's (Vina and her two sons). Vina was cared for and adopted out to another family as a young child. We had once shipped clothes to Vina and she had found a pair of my father in laws trousers, a tie and a long sleeved collared work shirt. This became the job interview outfit for the neighbourhood. All who had borrowed the clothes had washed and ironed the items, returned to Vina ready for the next person’s use. My family and I will rebuild my cousin’s family home. If there is a possibility of others being able to share, to help rebuild other homes, there will be a number of hearts grateful for your kindness.
Here are a couple of other encounters I recall with the people of David St.
I was invited into a family home of 12 in David St. The family members were made up of a set of grandparents, parents and 8 children. The home had a bare ground of dirt and old rocks, walls, a ceiling and no sight of furniture. We all sat cross legged on the floor as we chatted. The place was the size of a small room and the only way to see the things inside was from the light that shone through the front door. There was one shelving, from one side of the back of the room to the other. This is where they placed their belongings including linen for sleeping. Two of the younger girls were all smiles while we were in their home. It appeared they were quite happy to have visitors. I was told they did not get much light in the room. The oldest son Alex said they were used to the darkness and they did not know any different. The grandfather would cook their meals on coal and wood just outside of their home. The grandmother would help take care of the children. The father and mother were street sweepers. The mother does not read or write and would pick up her monthly salary by signing off with her thumb print. Since the fire, she has not been able to go to work as the grandfather has been sick and she is also helping care for him and the children. I fear this family may go homeless if their home is not rebuilt, this may be the same situation for other families as well. I hate to think of where they may end up as the typhoon season nears.
Sherwin is also a community member I have come to know. He is quite witty and a ball of laughs. He also lives in a small room with his Dad. About a year ago he was given a second hand sandwich press. He made his daily living by making toasted sandwiches on the side of the street. He told me his best seller was the cheese toastie. He would keep the loaves of bread, cheese and other spreads in a neighbour’s fridge as he did not have a one. We offered to get him items for his toastie business as a means of income and he politely declined as he would not have anywhere to keep the equipment and food items. Sherwin’s Dad is unwell and has been dropped off to other family members who live further away. Sherwin and his Dad are quite close and have never left each other’s side. Sherwin is aiming to some how pick things up and get his Dad back with him.
The beneficiaries of this fundraiser are located in David St, Leveriza, Buendia, Pasay, Manila, Philippines.