News Release

3,218 Shelters Built, 620 Carpenters Certified After Typhoon Yolanda

Three months after Yolanda struck Tacloban and other parts of Leyte, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints focused on providing shelters to families after doing emergency response.

The Shelter and Carpentry Graduation Exercises held May 28 in Ormoc and 29 in Tacloban brought together the families of carpenters and Church leaders who were closely assisting and ministering to their shelter needs.  Family members happily cheered loved ones as they received their certification. 

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Tacloban Graduation Exercises

A total of 3,218 homes have been built with 620 carpenters certified in carpentry and basic construction work under the tutelage of master carpenters. The Church provided construction materials and tools while labor was provided by the recipient.  The principle of self-reliance came into play as recipients were required to build their home as well as 4 other shelters.  Not only did they gain a home- they learned a skill which could provide them livelihood since the need for carpenters is immense in Yolanda-stricken areas.

“What we have happening here is both the principle of welfare which is caring for the poor and needy, partnered with the principle of self-reliance,” said Benson Misalucha, Area Welfare Manager. “One who is receiving a shelter is also working to build that shelter themselves,” he added.

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All carpenters received tools after the graduation.

Master carpenters were brought in to assist with training through the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund (PEF). Local trainees learned the trade and demonstrated their ability by building 4 other shelters to receive government certification and a toolbox from the Church, enabling them to seek gainful employment.

Jennalyn Barantes, a widow whose house was destroyed when coconuts fell on it, did not have the means to fix it.  Volunteers helped her build a new house and in return she helped another family construct a home. “I learned to work together with those who were also in need because it was best that we recover from the typhoon together,” said Barantes.   She moved into her new house with her mother and daughter last February.

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Friends and family attend the graduation exercises in support of loved ones receiving their certification.

Ricky Gonzalez and his family took shelter in a chapel when the typhoon struck.  As a master carpenter tasked to help others learn the skill, he said, “We knew we needed to help one another so that the building of shelters can be completed quicker.”

Ricardo Aban, Tacloban Stake (diocese) president, was with his flock during the typhoon seeking shelter in San Juanico Chapel together with his family.  After the typhoon, he had more work to do assessing the needs of his members and responding to their needs.  He recalled, “I had a responsibility to a larger family aside from my own.  With my family’s support, I managed to address the many challenges of the different families in the Stake.  Today is a celebration of happiness and a brighter future ahead.”


Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, 4th District of Ormoc, offers words of inspiration to certified carpenters from Ormoc.

Elder Brent H. Nielson, area president of the Church in the Philippines said, “The Shelter and Carpentry Graduation is a celebration of Filipino resiliency.  The typhoon may have damaged many things but never the Filipino resolve to rise above the challenges around him.  Many things have been accomplished after Yolanda.  We will continue to serve our brothers and sisters as we follow the teaching of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to help others.”  

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One of 3,218 shelters built.

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A shelter in Ormoc.

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A shelter in Tacloban.


A lady carpenter happily receives her new set of tools.


New sets of  tools were given to carpenters after the graduation.  

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