After nine months of disrupted livelihood, 61-year-old Puromala is excited to start her fruit stand using the money that she will get from World Vision’s cash-for-work program.
“I’ll invest more than half of the money in this business. The rest, I’ll buy some good foods for my children and grandchildren,” she shares.
Puromala used to own a store in Marawi City’s war zone. She was raised to be a business woman. “This is what I’m good at,” she says.
When the battle ensued in May, however, she and her family were left with no choice but to leave the city. They stayed with relatives and had to depend on what the government and aid agencies would give them.
“Those were the hardest days of my life. We were always hungry and we did not have a space of our own. And when I heard the news that there’s nothing left in the war zone, my heart was broken.”
She adds, “Although there was no more business to go back to last November, I’m still glad to be back in Marawi and start anew. This support from you is God’s answer to my prayers.”
World Vision’s cash-for-work program is part of its livelihood support to initially 1,000 families from the five cleared barangays in Marawi. Each will receive P2,500 (USD50) for working for four hours each day for 10 days through a partner financial service provider. In consultation with the community people and in partnership with local partners and the local government, activities like community clean-up, road clearing and community gardening are on-going in the assisted areas.
Several projects including house repair and business stall construction are also being done to help families rebuild what was destroyed by the conflict.
“Aside from the money that I will receive, I am thankful that my business stall will be constructed through the program. It will usually cost us at least P5,000 for labor alone,” Puromala shares, noting that aside from the money and the construction of her stall, she is overwhelmed by the support of her neighbors.
“This crisis also made me realize how helpful others can be in times of needs. I didn’t expect my neighbors, through this initiative, to be working on my stall,” she smiles.
The first three days of the cash-for-work program focused on peace-building and psychosocial activities, allowing the beneficiaries to identify the factors that divide and connect them as a community. Child-friendly spaces were also set up in the five barangays, catering to 500 children.
To date, there are close to 20,000 families from 38 barangays who are back in Marawi, most of whom still rely on aid to get by.World Vision/February 26, 2018
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.