Livelihood Rehabilitation and Development
Today was such a great day! I (Michael), along with my two boys Sean and Carter, had the opportunity to travel to a couple of different communities in Capiz province to visit with farmers who lost their rice crops this past year, between Christmas and New Years, during a series of strong tropical storms that caused major flooding throughout their communities, especially in their rice fields.
Canadian Baptist Ministries was able to respond to the needs of the many impacted farmers through a joint partnership with several other organizations that was initiated by Asia Pacific Baptist Aid (APBAid) immediately following the flooding. The project is being implemented by the Development Ministries department of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches Inc. (CPBC).
The effected farmer beneficiaries received a sum of 6,000 Pesos (approx. $150 Canadian dollars) to rehabilitate their rice fields. However, since this is currently hot season in the Philippines (with very little rain) and not an opportune time to grow rice, the farmers were given the opportunity to use the funds for short-term (2 month) livelihood initiatives as a way to generate income prior to the upcoming rice planting season, which begins in late May/early June. The during this time the farmers are using the 6,000 Pesos for various livelihood initiatives that will hopefully earn them a good income for the two months. They will then return the funds to the project so that they can be re-distributed to the farmers to help them rehabilitate their rice fields with the purchase of farm inputs such as fertilizers and seeds.
Today we heard many stories from individuals of how the financial support that they received through this rehabilitation project has allowed them to recover from significant loss due to the flooding. We heard many stories of how the farmers are creatively using the funds to generate income. For example, some of the farmers chose to buy piglets, at a low price, which they will be able to sell for a much higher price when the pig has grown. Other farmers chose to invest the funds into small business activities such as: sari-sari stores (small road-side convenience store), growing other types of crops to sell, making and selling hollow cement blocks, selling farm implements (nuts and bolts for equipment repairs), just to name a few. All of the farmer beneficiaries expressed their deepest gratitude to Canadian Baptist Ministries for the support and for journeying with them through this time of difficulty.
You might be wondering what would happen to these farmers if they did not receive this support. Well, the truth is if these farmers did not receive this support many of them would have fallen into a cycle of debt that would be very difficult to recover from. When natural calamities have occurred in the past many ‘loan shark’, who wish to profit from those who are suffering, have offered loans at very high interest rates (up to 20%) with very short repayment periods. When they are unable to pay the money back on time many of them end up borrowing more money from another ‘loan shark’ to pay back the first one. This cycle is very hard to break and sadly many of them have fallen into this debt cycle in the past because of significant need during times of difficulty and a feeling of nowhere else to turn. They are so thankful for the support of CBM, CPBC, APBAid, and their local Kasapulanan (association) of churches.
Sublangon Community Church, Pontevedra, Capiz Province
Mrs. Henna Baclagon – Director of Development Ministries, Convention of Philippine Baptist
This is a traditional tool (known as a Lusong) that is used for husking rice. This method is not really used anymore now that mechanical machines are available to do the job, but they pulled this out to demonstrate for us and to let us give it a try. It is very hard work and would certainly cause you to appreciate your food more.
Ma’am Feraz Baclagon Legita – President of Convention of Philippine Baptist & Director at Asia Pacific Baptist Aid
Local residents/farmers demonstrating the proper way to husk the rice using the traditional Filipino method of a ‘Lusong’ and ‘Hal-O’
In closing, we want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for everyone who continues to pray for us and financially support us as we serve with CBM in the Philippines. Your faithful love and support means so much to us and serves as a reminder of God’s love, faithfulness and provision. Thanks for joining us on this journey…TOGETHER we are impacting families and communities through word and deed!
If you are interested in becoming a Partner-in-Mission please contact Barb Keys (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-905-821-3533) at Canadian Baptist Ministries. You can also visit their website at www.cbmin.org to give online or for more information. We are only able to follow God’s leading in our lives thanks to the monthly support of generous individuals and churches.
All donations of $10.00 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt at year end.
Michael & Melanie
Kyla, Sean, Carter & Allie