Aloma’s story – the Philippines
Love Your Neighbour
A victim of Typhoon Santi, Aloma was provided with the skills to lead her vulnerable community in developing resilience to extreme weather events.
When Typhoon Santi destroyed her home in coastal Philippines, Aloma feared for her family’s safety and their future. Extreme weather events such as typhoons and cyclones are a common occurrence in this country, threatening the safety and food security of many families.
In the Philippines, GDP per capita is around one-tenth that of Australia’s, and life expectancy is around 14 years lower. Poverty is the single most important factor determining vulnerability to natural disasters, which makes communities like Aloma’s particularly vulnerable.
However, confidence began to replace fear for Aloma as she began participating in the Integrated Community Development Program (ICDP) in 2011. The program, run by the Socio Pastoral Action Center Foundation Inc., is supported by Caritas Australia. It helps communities to prepare for disasters, and adopt environmentally friendly practices.
Aloma’s training in disaster risk reduction empowered her to take a leadership role in her community in caring for the environment. She manages logistics during natural disasters, and encourages the families in her village to plant mangroves for land conservation.
The program also offers guidance on working together for the common good. As a result, Aloma says, “All the skills that I learned, I pass on to friends and neighbours.”
Aloma’s community now cares for their common home together, and Aloma sees a brighter future for her children. My dream for my community is to continue what we are doing right now, so that the next generation will benefit from what we have started.” – Aloma