Navotas City - 2,200 Filipino youth volunteers put one brick over another to build a roof for close to 100 families in the fire and flood prone Navotas City where thousands of calamity victims are still sleeping evacuation centers.
“Imagine, if you will for a second. Waking up one day with no home; literally living beside thousands of other people, having to sleep in basketball court. Imagine having no chairs, no bathroom, no clothes more than what you are wearing, imagine having to wait in a long queue for food three times a day,” shared 39-year-old freshman Mayor John Rey Tiangco when the Habitat Youth Build was launch last January.
“This is how many people including thousands of Navotenyos live within 13 evacuation centers in different barangays. They are the reason why Habitat for Humanity exists.”
“It is a privilege that Habitat for Humanity Philippines has chosen Navotas as the Youth Build 2012 site and to be the recipient of their selfless efforts to provide homes to many of our needy and homeless members of our city, said Mayor Tiangco. “Much more than brick and mortar though, this activity really will provide more than just the much needed shelter to hundreds of Navotenyos. It gives them a fighting chance and hope for a better future than they could ever imagine for themselves and their children,” he added.
The Habitat Youth Council, comprised of 18-to 21-year-old young leaders from Metro Manila, banded together to raise funds, send relief and help rebuild Navotas City. Founded by Youth Council Chair Alexandra ‘Alex’ Eduque, the group has raised a total of P40M for 400 homes in Calauan, Navotas and Laguna since the HYC’s formation two years ago. Its current officers include Isabel Martel Francisco, Kevin Yang, Simon Tantoco, and Pedro T. Roxas. They were all present at the Youth Build, along with Habitat Youth Ambassadors Matteo Guidicelli and Cris Villonco who hosted the program. Habitat Capital Campaign Cabinet Members Fernando Zobel de Ayala and Susana “Chuchu” A.S. Madrigal were also present.
This year, Ms. Eduque has adopted Navotas City in the new “I Build My City I Build” My Philippines Campaign of Habitat which encourages every citizen to get involved in their city of birth or of choice’s city-wide shelter program. Alex and the Habitat Youth Council also founded this year the Habitat Youth Leaders Movement (HYLM) which aims to discover and nurture more youth leaders to do more for their country through Habitat for Humanity.
With today’s outpouring of volunteers, it seems that Generation Now knows they can change the world if they change the world of one, or one hundred. Incoming HYC President Kevin Yang said, “The sight of one thousand youth volunteers during the build was absolutely incredible. They were all energetic, enthusiastic, and focused on changing the lives of their fellow Filipinos – a testament to the initiative of youth today.”
“Thousands of lives were rebuilt in one day, and I’m confident that there will be thousands more. Thank you to all the volunteers who came and made a difference to our beneficiaries.”
The Habitat Youth Build also coincides with the town fiesta of Barangay Tanza, and 2,200 youth joined in to help celebrate.
“To all the volunteer builders, and the members of Generation Now, we are extremely overwhelmed by your outpouring support, and eagerness to tackle the challenge – it shows the leaders in all of you, said Eduque who explained that the Youth Build also happened simultaneously in China, Thailand, Indonesia and India.
Speaking from the Youth Build in Tanza, Navotas City and Indahag, Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines, Eduque said, “Youth Build 2012 is only the beginning, of the many more things to come – of the multitude of events that will showcase, and bring together the spirit of volunteerism, passion for helping and innate leadership that the Filipino youth easily exhibit and exercise. Thank you all for showing up and showing you care today and every day.”