Stories of Hope and Moving Forward
JFC and JGF continue to assist families as they recover and rebuild their lives after Typhoon Yolanda. A Special School Feeding Program in over 100 schools and a livelihood recovery program for small farmers started in January 2014.
Bangon Visayas Feature Story of the Month: Iloilo Province
A hundred days after the havoc of Typhoon Yolanda, Northern Iloilo is slowly rising again. Power is being restored in major areas, the sound of hammers and saws echo from all corners as survivors convert useful debris into their new homes.
As you walk through the fallen walls around the towns, numerous Yolanda survivors have the same story to tell, how they lost it all to the typhoon and how they are now picking themselves up to move forward.
Moving forward to give back
On the day Yolanda struck the town of Lemery, Iloilo, Nanay Julie Alberto, 61, and her family lost their home and livelihood. They were forced to evacuate and thought that they will not be able to live normal lives again. But through the help of various groups, she and her grandchildren have found a glimmer of hope.
The Jollibee Group FoodAID Special School Feeding (SSF) is one kind of assistance that Nanay Julie is grateful for.
“Sa totoo lang, sa edad kong ito, medyo nahihirapan din ako. Pero hindi ko na iniintindi, kasi alam ko ito lang naman ang kaya kong maibigay para masuklian ang tulong na binibigay sa amin,” said Nanay Julie. (To be honest, with my age, I am finding it hard (to help) but I don’t mind it because I know this is the only way that I can give back to those who have been helping us.)
Her four grandchildren all study in Almenana Elementary School and get to partake of the meals provided under SSF. As part of her commitment, Nanay Julie actively participates in the program by cooking and serving meals to more than 900 students in the school. As the program provides lunch to her grandchildren, Nanay Julie also gets one-kilo of rice every time she participates. This gives them relief and the hope that indeed, their lives are on track to becoming normal again.
Almenana Elementary School is one of the 134 schools in the provinces of Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Leyte and Samar that are benefiting from Jollibee Group FoodAID’s Special School Feeding Program. The SSF program will run from January until end of the school year and will serve meals to more than 47,000 pupils.
“Almost gave up but now I’m moving forward…”
Maricar Banggud, a Grade 6 student, shared that she almost quit school because she just wanted to help her parents look for food to eat. But when she heard that Omio Elementary School will be one of the SSF beneficiaries of Jollibee Group FoodAID, she realized that people outside her hometown are not giving up in helping them and she should not also give up.
“Salamat po sa lahat ng tumutulong sa amin. Ngayon kahit maglakad ako ng malayo papunta dito sa eskwela, pumapasok pa rin ako kasi alam kong hindi ko dapat sayangin ang tulong ninyo,” said Maricar. (Thank you to those who have been helping us. Now, even though I have to walk far just to get here, I will still go to school because I know I should not waste this opportunity that you are giving us.)
Mrs. Diosita Muyco, School Principal of Muyco Elementary School also shared that the attendance of the pupils in their school improved across all levels after learning that a special school feeding will be conducted. “Noong una, panay ang absent nila. Kasi mas pinipili nila na tumulong mangalakal kasama ng magulang nila. Pero nung narining nila yung SSF, biglang nagsipasukan na sila at ngayon bihira na ang mga umaabsent,” said Mrs. Muyco in her statement. (Before, they were always absent because they would rather work together with their parents. But when they heard that the SSF will be implemented here, they all suddenly went back to school and now they are hardly absent from their classes.)
The SSF is conducted three times a week and is made possible through the cooperation of everyone in the community. While JGF provides the ingredients and the rice for the parents, the local government unit, school administrators, teachers and parents all work together to undertake the activity. In Iloilo province, the SSF is being implemented through the help of the Western Visayas College of Science and Technology (WVCST) and John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Arevalo (JBLFMU-A), which are also partners in the Busog, Lusog, Talino School Feeding Program of JGF. “This SSF is definitely a big help especially to the kids because they are not only fed but they also receive additional assistance such as rice for their families. And this gives them the hope that they can actually rise up and face each day with renewed spirit,” shared WVCST College President Luis Sorolla, Jr.
The local government units (LGUs) on the other hand also provide monitoring and transportation support for the SFF activities in their localities. The LGU partners also expressed their appreciation for the assistance that JFC and JGF have extended to the survivors.
“On behalf of our people, the Concepcionanons… to our donors, thank you very much for helping us move forward and we hope that you will continue to support us as we slowly walk towards the road to recovery.” -Concepcion, Iloilo Mayor Milliard Villanueva.
Students of Muyco Elementary School happily pose for the camera
Pupils enjoying their meals
Parent volunteers from Muyco Elementary School and Municipal Program Coordinator John Caleste (first from left) and Sangguniang Baranggay Member Rodel Sipanton (rightmost)