Scholarships for Haiyan victims bear fruit

Inter-aksyon photo

Salesian program has helped hundreds struggling to rebuild lives following devastating typhoon

Marivic Fulminar, a 60-year old widow, could hardly contain her feelings when asked how she was three years after Super Typhoon Haiyan literally blew her home away in the central Philippine city of Tacloban.

“How can I thank God,” said Marivic. “I cannot ask for more,” added the teary-eyed mother of six who is one of the hundreds of beneficiaries of a church-run project for typhoon victims.

Marivic’s fourth child, Romnick, is already training as an automotive mechanic in Manila with the help of a scholarship program provided by the Salesians of Don Bosco congregation.

“The church project is a great help for us,” said Marivic.

Felixander Sudario, a 22-her old technician, also finished his education through the help of the Salesian-run Don Bosco Technical School in the capital Manila.

“They taught me new knowledge and skills,” said Felixander.

Jed Adol, who also trained as an automotive mechanic, is now employed by a big car manufacturing company in Manila.

The scholarship program is a “baby project” of Msgr. Ramon Aguilos of Palo Archdiocese who said he never planned it.

“It just came in, I would say, in God’s own time,” the priest told 

He said the program is part of the Salesian congregation’s contribution to rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by Haiyan, which hit the central Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013.

Msgr. Aguilos said the scholarship program will sponsor a new batch of students who will be sent to Manila for their studies next year.

The priest said he has been receiving good feedback from the recent batch of beneficiaries. 

“They are now busy processing their application papers because most have been absorbed by the companies where they underwent their training,” said Msgr. Aguilos.

The priest said the scholarship program is giving him “a different kind of fulfillment.”

“Who wouldn’t be happy? I saw them start their training program with almost nothing. They were uncertain of their future,” he said. “Now, they finish with self-assurance and confidence,” he added.

Msgr. Aguilos said all the families have been very grateful to the program because of the “change of heart” while they were undergoing their studies.

“They were not just taught technical skills. They were also formed to be people of deep faith,” said the priest.

Three years after the disaster, several parishes in the provinces of Samar and Leyte have already risen back.

The international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, meanwhile, reported that the organization has already provided some US$1.3 million worth of aid to dioceses affected by Haiyan.

In a letter to the aid agency, Archbishop John Du of Palo said the organization has “strengthened our faith knowing that God never forgets us, for you are there to respond to the calling of God to help us.”

At least 10 damaged churches have already been rebuilt in Palo Archdiocese, where 72 of its 76 churches sustained damage during the typhoon.

UCAN News/  Ronald Reyes, Tacloban City, PH  8 November 2016

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