TACLOBAN CITY – The Harvest Evangelical Free Church will implement various livelihood programs in this city to help survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda rebuild their shattered lives. The Christian institution will provide several projects such as distribution of pedicabs and food carts for making banana cue (sweetened deep fried banana) and barbecue. “We are here in Tacloban to help the community through our livelihood projects. We will also train them how to make flip flops (rubber slippers) which they may use to sustain their needs,” Francis Mabelo, the church’s community development manager, said.

The project will cover 10 to 15 villages in the city and a minimum of 10 families per area as beneficiaries. The organization is not strict with qualifications of recipients because they are aware of enormous need caused by large scale destruction. “In choosing our beneficiaries, we make it a point that we interact with those families who would need help and ask them what they would need,” Mabelo said. “Our team is the one who will identify the beneficiaries for the program and will not rely on the list that would come from the village or to other groups,” he stressed. With the programs and projects that they will implement, Mabelo explained that their programs are based on the strengths and experiences of their beneficiaries to ensure sustainability.

In a recent study that they have conducted, one of the reasons why they chose to implement these projects is because it is suitable to the community. “Based on our initial assessment, flip flop making is very convenient because every Filipino wears slippers. Tacloban’s primary transportation is pedicab and most of them do not own one,” Mabelo said. The group has yet to complete the feasibility study with the actual implementation scheduled this month. (CARYL VIVIEN S.TOMANDA, LNU Intern)