A Ministry of Fr. Oliver McCrossan, Columban Missionary, Ozamiz City, Philippines
The dream of our families to have decent homes and live in a harmonious community has come true! At present we have already built fourteen housing units. The houses are made from local materials–clay, rice straw, rice husks. We call them earthen buildings. A small multi-purpose hall with two bedrooms and a kitchen has also been completed. It is used for meetings and recollections. Part of the building will be used as a play room for the children in the community, especially the toddlers.
An orientation seminar on policies and regulations is conducted for all new members of the housing project.The elected officers have their regular monthly meetings to discuss plans and improvements in the community. Last month, officers and other beneficiaries participated in an organizational management skills training workshop. Partners from other non-government organizations helped us with this training.
In April 2012, our Pedaling to Live Green Shelter Project was registered at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). We need to train and empower the members of our project committee with ongoing education to strengthen their organization.
We continue using our local materials, and we train our drivers to construct using clay, rice hay and rice hull. Again, we ensure that the houses are well built to withstand heavy rains and winds. In fact one non-government organization, here in our neighboring area has adopted our earthen building technology. There is a great opportunity of our drivers since the Pailig Foundation; an NGO hired our drivers to construct their houses using the local materials. This provides another source of their income aside from driving a tricycle. We are trying to promote this technology in order that poorer families can build their own houses very cheaply.Networking and linkages with different organizations is very important. During the Earth Month celebration, our drivers joined the motorcade in the city celebration.
Providing shelter to the less fortunate families is not easy. It needs proper constant monitoring and organizing to build good relations in the community.
We are also developing a number of income generating projects. Backyard organic vegetable gardening, pig and chicken raising has started in ten families. They are selling their products in the market and some neighbors come to buy as well.
Another livelihood for the wives and children is the doormat making. This is helping each family to augment their income. Each family can finish 60 pieces of doormat every week. Each mat sells for twenty-five pesos . Each family can earn as much as one-thousand – five hundred peso per week ($33.33 @$1=45.00). Families are very happy now in their new homes, fresh air, fresh vegetables and harmonious relationship among them. I am very grateful working with them until now, and that’s inspired my commitment.
For six years of the pedaling to live project, many lives were changed especially those families who are living in the slum areas. Ongoing scholarship program and medical assistance were given to our beneficiaries and to their children. We have 35 scholars for this school year. Notebooks, pens, pencils, uniforms were given and 15 tricycle drivers and their families received medical assistance.
We thank all our supporters, may God bless you!