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MANILA, Philippines – After Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) swept the Visayas region in the Philippines on November 2013, displaced survivors were determined to rise up from the horrible devastation. Some sought shelter in evacuation centers while others were left to fend for themselves for nights on end.
As SM was fully aware of the dire living conditions in the typhoon-stricken areas, it saw the need to go beyond immediate relief assistance and embark on providing long-term rebuilding and reconstruction efforts.
As a responsible mixed property developer and as part of its commitment to serve and give back to the community and the country, SM built 1,000 disaster-resilient homes for the families who were affected by Haiyan.
The project, spearheaded by SM, is fully and privately funded by donations coming from its lot donors, tenants, business partners, employees, and the community. It aims to show that collective effort from the private sector can make a significant positive change in communities, especially to those who were affected by the typhoon.
The houses were given to selected beneficiaries for free.
The houses are made with concrete ceilings and walls to accelerate the conventional building method, and are also equipped with proper ventilation. It can withstand severe weather conditions without major damage and are designed higher than government standards.
Each village is fitted with basic amenities such as streetlights, electricity, water, a basketball court, and a community center.
To enable a sustained community after the families have moved in to their new homes, SM engaged the services of non-government organizations (NGOs) that are assigned to each village. These NGOs partnered with the local government in the identification and selection of beneficiaries. Likewise, the partners handle the soft component – or the community development function – for each village.
The residents are also given the opportunity to be involved in their own community by engaging in various activities and programs such as livelihood and values formation seminars, membership to their local cooperative, tree planting activities, rehabilitation assistance of their local establishments, and waste segregation schemes.
All of these efforts are on top of the P100 million that SM initially donated for the communities affected by the typhoon.
The project allows SM to serve the people beyond what they usually do as a mixed property developer. Together with its business partners, tenants and employees, it has also proven that the spirit of bayanihan (camaraderie) is still alive in the hearts of the Filipinos and that we, as a nation, will continue to help each other in order to get back on our feet. – Rappler.com