News Release

Shelter, Livelihood in Yolanda Areas

Shelter is a basic need.  Three months after Yolanda struck Tacloban and other parts of the Visayas, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been humming with activity focusing on shelter and livelihood. 

Three thousand homes have been projected to be finished by May 2014.  To date, close to a thousand have been built.  The Church provided construction materials and tools while labor is provided by the recipient.

In order to learn the skill of building these shelters, many have been trained on carpentry and basic construction work under the tutelage of master carpenters.  The principle of self-reliance came into play as recipients were required to build their home as well as nine other shelters.   Tools they could use for construction were given to them at the end of the training and a certification on carpentry proficiency was issued to them.  Not only did they gain a home, they learned a skill which could earn them livelihood since the need for carpenters is immense in Yolanda stricken areas. 

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 “We’re seeing both the principles of welfare, which is caring for the poor and needy, but we’re also seeing the principle of self-reliance in action right now, and it’s rather astounding,” said Bishop Stevenson, the Presiding Bishop for the Church worldwide. “One of the things that we’re trying to do is provide materials while [recipients] provide labor,” said Bishop Stevenson. “Anyone who is receiving a shelter is also working to build that shelter themselves.”

Local Church leaders and humanitarian representatives are meeting with local community leaders to give vocational training and certification to people who have learned carpentry skills, he said. “Some of these people are certifying to become carpenters so that they can take what they've learned in providing service and a structure, a shelter for this family, and provide that service, caring for the poor and the needy, but at the same time they're learning a skill,” said Bishop Stevenson.

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Ten master carpenters have been brought in to assist with training through the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund (PEF). Local trainees will learn the trade and demonstrate their learning by building 10 shelters to receive government certification and a toolbox from the Church, enabling them to seek gainful employment.

Bishop Stevenson said there is currently a need for 250,000 carpenters in the Tacloban area, “with far fewer than that that are able” as the Philippines moves from disaster response to relief efforts. He reported 500 members of the Church attended a weekend conference meeting where ecclesiastical leaders described the job training and certification training.

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Speaking on the people he met in Tacloban, Bishop Stevenson said, “It's an example for the members of the Church everywhere in the world to see their beautiful faces with smiles and faith and hope.  And so we can all learn from this. They have a spirit that is just remarkable.”



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