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Resettlement Homes That are Strong and Eco Friendly Part 2

Updated on April 13, 2015
grand old lady profile image

Mona writes a column for Enrich Magazine which is distributed in five countries. She is interested in learning as she writes.

My byline with the article I wrote

Made With Care and Devotion

Continuing on directly from last month’s entry, while we were at the Tzu Chi Foundation’s factory, we noticed that these shelters are made with care and devotion. All the workers are volunteers. Some are very old, others are young. We noticed that they had a very quick lunch, then they went straight back to work. No one was standing aside, resting. No one was chatting. They worked in silence.

The volunteers can work as many days as they wish, but must work an entire day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day is started with 30 “seedlngs” who will teach the volunteers what they are supposed to do. The job is quite easy and it is not uncommon to see a woman doing a man’s job, such as welding. There is a container van full of tools in the factory, and a man whose only job is to repair broken or defective tools. In this way, nothing is wasted.


The same procedure and materials to build the homes is also used for building classrooms. The difference is that the classrooms have no divisions. A typical classroom measures 39.67 square meters. It has six windows, two ventilators, a sunroof and two doors to enhance air circulation.

Once the components are built in Taiwan and shipped to the Philippines, 15 people can assemble a single classroom in two hours. In Leyte 128 classrooms were built last year.

Part 2 of my story in Enrich

My article in Enrich Magazine
My article in Enrich Magazine | Source

Donations given even to civil servants who were affected by Typhoon Yolanda

However, help does not end there. Tzu Chi also donated money to the families so they can work on rebuilding their own, permanent houses. The rebuilding of permanent homes involves gathering material from collapsed houses that they can reuse.

Also, Tzu Chi provided funds to purchase additional materials. Families of 1-2 were given P8,000. Families of 3-4 received P12,000, and families of five were given P15,000. One volunteer told us that even civil servants who were victims themselves were given donations. A total of 20,000 households in Tacloban received the money.

Cover of November, 2014 Enrich Magazine

Cover of the November, 2014 Enrich Magazine issue.
Cover of the November, 2014 Enrich Magazine issue. | Source

Donations Continue Today

Surprisingly, even now the help from Tzu Chi continues, despite the fact that as of this writing, gas pipes exploded in Kaoshiung, Taiwan, causing damage to streets, cars, and the foundations of the homes of people who live there.

While we were in Taiwan, we heard that Tzu Chi had already raised P20 million more in a concert that we attended for the Philippines. One reason for Tzu Chi’s success in fund raising is the organization’s credibility.

Contributors' photos

There's my photo on the right bottom, as I'm a columnist.
There's my photo on the right bottom, as I'm a columnist. | Source

True Home

All volunteers who go to Tacloban and Ormoc do so on their own expense – airfare, food, and hotel costs. They don’t use any of the donated funds, every cent of which goes directly to the victims.

The people of the Tzu Chi Foundation are committed to continue to build these temporary shelters for the Filipino people and to provide funds so that these people will have a decent place to live in and a startup fund to rebuild their permanent home. After all, it may sound trite but true -- there really is no place like home.


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    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Hi TravMaj,

      Yes, Tzu Chi is really an amazing organization. What really amazed me is many of their members are quite old, but they are thriving and full of energy. I guess Tzu Chi attracts the kind of good people that are made for this type of lifestyle:)

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      This is a fascinating article and I'm delighted to read more about Tzu Chi.

      Although initially there is such devastation to consider the positive and hope come shining through with the volunteers. It's rare these days to hear of such commitment. Thank you again Mona.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you FlourishAnyway,

      Yes, when Tzu Chi is helping the Philippines, they stay til the end and at the same time they have volunteers in other parts of the world and are helping them in their own natural disasters. You know, I spent three days with them in Taiwan, and their days were measured by natural disasters. Their cell phones, everything had news and they'd always mention during a car ride or something about an earthquake here or a tsunami there. It made me think that a person has to be very mentally strong to spend their days going from one sad place to another.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I'm happy to see that the good work continues, Mona. Congratulations on the byline as well.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Hi poetryman, thanks for the visit:). The Tzu Chi volunteers have to coordinate with the local government so that everyone is working in tandem. Ju.D told me of one official who donated a huge parcel of land so they could set up the homes and a school. They were careful to not disturb the earth too much because when the people have their permanent homes, they will return the land to the government official. The volunteers stay on the site and work with the people and reside there for as long as they are working there. They handle their own expenses.

      Thank you very much Mr. Bill. I'm delighted that you liked the article.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      This is an interesting way to deal with disasters. Does the government have a role or is it strictly via donations?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well done, Mona, and very interesting. Thanks for sharing the second part of this article with us.