‘Yolanda’ women call for more livelihood aid

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A Yolanda survivor showcases some of the native delicacies in their province during a mini trade fair held in Basey, Samar. (Photo Credit: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)

BASEY, Samar, Dec. 4, 2015 – Over 500 housewives, mothers, and sisters from “Yolanda”-hit communities in Western Samar who turned entrepreneurs have called the attention of government agencies to their need for more livelihood assistance.

“We hope to receive capital resources and machinery that we could use for our livelihood,” they said collectively in Waray during the First Rural Summit held recently in Basey.

In a statement, they specifically asked for capital support, equipment, additional skills training, and help in linking their products to the market.

Social services

They further appealed for increased access to social services, particularly for health and nutrition.

‘Yolanda’ women survivors in Samar release doves to symbolize women empowerment. (Photo: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)

The Samareñas, who came from 24 barangays in Basey, Marabut, and Sta. Rita towns, also grabbed the opportunity to stage a mini- trade fair featuring their products like organic vegetables and fruits, handicrafts, and native delicacies.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Provincial Government of Samar conducted a commitment signing.

The delegates, moreover, had a unity parade from the St. Michael the Archangel Parish to the Basey Municipal Gym.

Housewives to entrepreneur

While before super typhoon “Yolanda,” most of the women stayed at home caring for their children, after the disaster the Social Action Center (SAC) of the Diocese of Calbayog and NASSA/Caritas Philippines made sure they become micro-entrepreneurs, farmers, and mat weavers.

To date, about 406 women of them have received provisions like egg-laying implements, and capital assistance for mat-weaving and mat weavers’ centers, salted egg production, and backyard farming.

SAC Yolanda Rehabilitation Program Director Fr. Cesar Aculan shared, “Yolanda may have destroyed the livelihood of the people of Samar, but it has restored as well the sense of self-worth of the women.”

Besides providing livelihood aid, Calbayog’s SAC carried out interventions on shelter, disaster risk reduction, ecosystem, and water, sanitation, and hygiene in the province. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)

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