Yesterday, we were huddled in a conference room in Makati City watching a documentary on the victims of Supertyphoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda) which ravaged eastern Visayas last year. Today, November 8, we say a prayer on the first year anniversary of that catastrophe and remember the countless lives (and livelihood) that were lost. The question on everyone’s minds is: how are the affected and surviving families coping 365 days after Yolanda? How are they rebuilding their lives?
Do watch this short film with me, and spare 12 minutes of your time, to glimpse into the lives of some residents in Leyte province who were affected by Yolanda and how they faced the difficult task of starting anew:
Anna Legarda Locsin, Communications Head of multinational company Procter & Gamble, noted that a calamity of immense magnitude as Yolanda taught the world of the Filipinos’ “tremendous strength to move forward after so much loss.”
Thankfully, rehabilitation efforts in badly-stricken areas like Leyte got a much-needed push from the private sector. Locsin said P&G immediately implemented Project Hope together with its distributor partner in the Visayas, Dranix East.
P&G, along with the personal contributions of its employees, donated a total of P100 million products, cash and safe drinking water in the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan/Yolanda. But the best manifestation of the help is, perhaps, the orange-colored Project Hope stores. Approximately 3,000 of these stores could be found in the major roads, tent cities and even the most remote locations of Yolanda-hit areas in Leyte.
With the Hope stores, owners are given P1,000 worth of P&G products as starting capital. Locsin shared: ” We really wanted to focus on providing livelihood. And building sari-sari stores is one of the easiest and most meaningful ways we can help the most people in the fastest time.”
P&G has further expanded the project by collaborating with USAID,Rebuild and Coca-Cola. Aside from the orange-colored Hope stores, the homes of some affected families were rebuilt and a sari-sari store was made part of the structure. P&G and Coca-Cola then fully stock the stores with their best-selling products as starting capital for the storeowners. The partners aim to turnover 500 stores in phases over 2 years to families in Tacloban, Tanauan and Palo, all in Leyte.