While assistance from different countries and organizations across the globe came in as soon as the world witnessed the disaster, “kababayans” still continue to help up until today.
True to its commitment of providing a sustainable future for Filipinos, James Hardie, the world leader in fiber cement building products and the maker of HardieFlex, was quick to engage in the rehabilitation efforts that inevitably came in the wake of Yolanda.
Acknowledging the importance of education in rebuilding the lives of Yolanda survivors, James Hardie partnered with De La Salle Philippines (DLSP) to create maximum, positive change in some of the most badly hit communities, prioritizing the rebuilding of schools.
“When our team, together with De La Salle Philippines, visited the site, we saw that there was a lot of work to be done,” says James Hardie Philippines Country Manager Mark Sergio. “Almost everything had to be rebuilt from the ground up. But this did not discourage us. In fact, it strengthened our resolve.”
In an initiative called “Rebuilding the Future,” DLSP identified and adopted communities that were badly damaged by the typhoon. James Hardie came in to provide assistance in the rebuilding efforts in partnership with DLSP.
James Hardie and DLSP both wanted to provide safer and sturdier schools for the children in those communities. This was achieved by conducting ceiling installation workshops for carpenters involved in the rebuilding of the schools.
As a follow-up, James Hardie will continue the series of workshops to help locals in their rebuilding efforts, and to upgrade the skills of carpenters in Samar and Leyte.
“We helped by giving the locals carpentry workshops and by providing HardieFlex products for the schools,” says Sergio. “It is important to us that the people feel that they personally contributed to their community’s recovery.”
In rebuilding the schools, James Hardie and DLSP put in mind how their efforts can help children and their families move on from the trauma of the past.
“We, in De La Salle Philippines, are thankful that James Hardie partnered with us because we were able to help more people,” says DLSP President Br. Jose Mari Jimenez. “It is also of utmost importance that our classrooms are conducive to learning and are made with durable building products such as HardieFlex.”
Almost a year after the devastation, the communities that benefited from “Rebuilding the Future” showed dramatic changes, especially in the restored classrooms where young minds are being educated and the children are inspired to rise above their situation. Indeed, through their collective efforts, James Hardie and DLSP showed that nothing is impossible.
“Malipayon kami nga makakatikang na pag aram an amon mga anak para mahingalimtan nira adto nga maraot nga nahinabo. Puede na liwat hira mag inop para han ira maupay nga kabubuwason.” said Joselita Comora, a mother of four whose kids are all in elementary school.
[“I’m happy that my children can go to school again because that means they can finally move on from this tragedy. They can start to dream again!” said Joselita Comora, a mother of four whose kids are all in elementary school.