Habitat gives back-A A +A
Thursday, July 24, 2014
HABITAT for Humanity put an office up in Davao two years ago and set out on a mission to provide homes for the less fortunate people in the Davao and Caraga regions. After a year and a half of successfully building a network of donors and volunteers, Habitat for Humanity decided to give a little back to the donors who have helped Habitat get up and running.
Last July 17, Habitat for Humanity held a Donors Appreciation Event at the Apo View Hotel to recognize their partners. Habitat's head of regional operations in Davao and Caraga, Atty. Abdussador B. Sawadjaan Jr. said in the welcoming remarks that they gathered to “witness generosity.” There was no shortage of generosity indeed, as along with thanking the donors who have helped them get by, Habitat also provided glimpses of the organization’s future as they signed memorandums of agreement with the Davao Chinese Baptist Church and APM, and received 1.7 hectares of land from the Villa-Abrille Family.
For Habitat’s partnership with the Davao Chinese Baptist Church, the church donated two communal comfort rooms to Barangay Talomo.
Pastor Arnel Tan of the Davao Chinese Baptist Church, said of the donation, “(it was)out of social responsibility. In that small way we can be agents of true change.”
Tan explained why they chose to donate communal CRs, saying, “sanitation is a silent calamity.” He said that they wanted to donate something concrete but at the same time remain discreet. “We wanted to address it without being too ambitious,” he added.
He also explained that research showed that Barangay Talomo is one of the most problematic when it comes to sanitation, coupled with it being one of the largest barangays in the city. According to tan, each CR costs around P40,000 and is donated from their churchgoers; “the money of the rich and the poor,” as he put it.
The Villa-Abrille family, represented by Maria Loreto Villa-Abrille Lopez, donated 1.7-hectare land in Tagporel, Panabo to Habitat for Humanity. She explained that it is also part of their relocation project, as they are helping informal settlers in their land find their own places to stay.
Atty. Lloyd Lao, who helped draft the deed of donation, shared some of the plans for the use of the donated land, “there will be a minimum of 110 houses.” Lao explained that the socialized housing project will have homes measuring 70 square meters each. He also revealed that the Villa-Abrilles asked Habitat if they could personally select 30 beneficiaries. Lao shared that this is the third batch of their resettlement project, where they aid the settlers. “The Villa-Abrille’s give equity and the monthly fee is shouldered by homeowners,” he explained. According to Lao, construction is expected to being late in this year.
Sawadjaan shared his sentiment on being able to partner with the Villa-Abrilles, saying, “the Villa-Abrilles have been relocating settlers in Davao City since 2003. We want to give back to the community just as Francisco Villa-Abrille gave back to the city.”
Atty. Jason Joyce, ambassador for Habitat for Humanity also shared some thoughts on giving, saying “it is better to give than to receive, but it is good to receive so we may give more.”
Charlie Ayco, CEO of Habitat for Humanity also graced the event. Ayco shared what Habitat aims to do, saying, “it’s cause is to break the cycle of poverty.” “If you give the people a house, it changes their psychology,” he added, citing the positive effect of living in a decent house that you truly own.
Just less than two years to settle in Davao and Habitat for Humanity has made strides in working towards their goal. With volunteers and donors backing them, Habitat for Humanity looks set to make the difference they’ve set out to achieve.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 25, 2014.