Recovering after Typhoon Haiyan: Irene earns an income and rebuilds her home

Irene is a 33 year-old woman whose home was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. Together with husband, Ronnie, and their three children, they have been living in a ramshackle hut they made from scrap materials. Trying to survive on the US$5 per week that Ronnie earns, the family often only ate two meals each day.

One day Irene was invited to a program run by Global Development Group project J700N ICM Community Development Initiatives. At first she thought the program gave out money to the poor and was most discouraged when she discovered this was not the case. However, as Irene continued to listen to some of the lessons on values—like hard work and dedication, health and livelihood—Irene became convinced she should participate further.

Irene learned how to cook and sell local delicacies like rice cakes. She soon began making different kinds of snacks like puto cheese, kutchinta and banana cakes, which she then sold to her neighbours. Her snacks became so popular that she had to make more. Irene now earns about US$2 to $3 a day!

“The program helped me as a mother and as a spouse because I am now able to help my husband with the income I get from selling food . . . I even have savings of about US$10. Till now I have never had a single peso saved.” Irene’s small business has become so successful that she eventually earned enough to build a new home for her family.

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