Building a Nation, One Community at a Time

$15 billion in damages

16-foot-tall surges of water

600,000 homeless

On November 8, 2013, the fate of the Philippines was changed forever when Super Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, as it is called by Filipinos, touched down, killing thousands, obliterating entire communities, and making daily life for many “worse than hell.”

The poorest in the Philippines, those living in remote coastal towns, were the worst hit and suffered from extreme homelessness, hunger, and lack of access to aid supplies. This storm has changed the face of the Philippines for decades to come, but luckily, two years after this terror, there is hope of rebirth.

Rebuilding Homes, Hopes, and Dreams: The Work of Gawad Kalinga

Gawad Kalinga (GK) has been working since 1994 to end the cycle of extreme poverty in the Philippines. It employs a holistic method, targeting the culture of poverty by empowering the poor to help themselves and their communities to build a better future.

GK’s methods focus on a three-part process of restoring dignity, empowering communities, and caring for resources. It begins with programs that empower families to build their own brightly colored homes. GK provides these families with basic needs like land, food, and security and also empowers their communities, bringing dignity back to the lives of the poor.

Arnel Abas, a survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan who helped others rebuild

Arnel Abas, a survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan who helped others rebuild

GK then links communities to partners that help plan and implement programs that address sickness, hunger, and education. The partners also connect impoverished individuals to government resources that provide longer-term sustainable support. By helping community members take on leadership roles and provide for their own future, GK is building communities from the ground up and tackling poverty at the base level.

A colorful new community built through GK’s programs

A colorful new community built through GK’s programs

Building Communities to End Poverty

In response to the devastation of Haiyan, Gawad Kalinga has funded 2,923 new homes, is feeding 3,652 children, and has created a new “Balangay” boat program for fishermen, distributing more than 797 boats already.

An example of a Balangay boat helping provide fishermen with a livelihood

An example of a Balangay boat helping provide fishermen with a livelihood

GK’s impact is more than just numbers on a page, however. It is creating jobs and rebuilding entire communities that were wiped clean by the storm. Zaldy Ferrer, a local fisherman living on the island of Punta Buri, explains how devastating the typhoon was to his livelihood:

After the storm, we lost all our material possessions, our fishing boats, and our livelihood. Even the fish traps I left at sea were not spared.

With GK’s Balangay boat program though, more fishermen like Zaldy are now able to get back on their feet and provide for their families.

Johnny Baroba, a Haiyan survivor and GK beneficiary, says:

I thought I’d never be able to fish again. But we just lifted it all up to God. Today, we are very grateful to GK for giving us the chance to stand up and recover.

A few Gawad Kalinga communities

The Role of NGOsource

In order to secure more funding for its life-changing programs, Gawad Kalinga has completed the equivalency determination (ED) process of NGOsource and is now established as the equivalent of a U.S. public charity. This process facilitates funding from U.S. grantmakers, making the grant-funding process faster, easier, and better.

As Issa Cuevas-Santos of GK explains:

Now that Gawad Kalinga has an equivalency determination certificate [ED] in the NGOsource database, other U.S. funders can find out more about our work and make grants without having to go through this ED process again. This will also make it easier for GK to obtain funding from U.S. funders in the future.

We at Gawad Kalinga know that to end poverty for 5 million families by 2024, we need to expand the work and advocacy of caring and sharing across countries, to build a better, safer, and kinder world.

Reaching more people and making it easier for them to help out is critical, and NGOsource has made this easier.

Gawad Kalinga How You Can Help

Rebuilding a Nation and Restoring Dignity

With the help of NGOsource, Gawad Kalinga is helping to restore dignity to the poor and rebuild a nation devastated by nature. Gawad Kalinga literally translates into “give care,” and it does just that. It continues to impact the lives of thousands of Filipinos through more than 2,000 communities. It is not just building homes, but building a future filled with hope for people who have seen too much despair.

This NGO has been recognized as the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee & 2012 Skoll Awardee for Social Entrepreneurship.

Community building in action

Community building in action

About the Author

Wesley White is a New Sector Alliance RISE Fellow with the Communications and Global Media team at TechSoup Global.

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