Building Dreams, building a community.
Iloilo City is an urbanized area and one of the provinces in the Philippines. There, lived poor families considered as “Informal Settlers”.
Janet Balaguer, is one of them, she is a solo parent of 4, earning an insufficient living out of selling balut, lived in a land with other 15 families, where threat of being evicted is certain. They dreamed of owning a place free from eviction and safe from calamities.
Through the help of a local NGO, Iloilo Peoples Habitat Foundation, Inc. that assists communities in acquiring their land; they formed a group, looked for a land and named themselves: Michael Ville Home Owners Association.
There’s always a leader in every group and it was Janet who took this responsibility. Without proper education and finance, it was difficult for her to transact with offices. There were times when she could not eat for a day because her money is limited for transportation. The process of acquiring a land takes years, and it was a struggle Janet had to face being the head.
The group now lives in a land they are starting to pay and own eventually. They built houses with the assistance of DISOP. They got trainings such as carpentry and masonry so they can build better and safer houses of their own. Leadership trainings and team building activities were also conducted so leaders and members are capacitated and empowered to bring their concerns to the government.
What they did was more than just building shelters, they built a community.
They did not just build a house, they built a home.