Rebecca Vermeer·

ublished on Dec 20, 2013

December 20, 2013

Dear Friends,
A few weeks after Typhoon Bopha (locally Pablo) struck eastern Mindanao in December 2012, I was introduced electronically to a Filipina doing graduate studies in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.. This young Filipina was fundraising for her home province of Davao Oriental in Vancouver but I was only able to contact her after she returned to Saskatoon. When she learned about the Eco-Kalan, she lamented at the thought of "so much rice donated to the typhoon victims but nothing to cook it with". Her lament has echoed in my mind ever since and has made me more determined to bring the Eco-Kalan stoves to victims of disasters wherever possible, not by ourselves, but with other organizations that can provide security, reliable transportation, food, drinking water, clothing and building supplies.

Find out more about the Eco-Kalan project here:

February 3, 2014

Dear Friends,
On December 27-28, 2013, the Eco-Kalan Project Team led by Monica Sison and the Philippine Army (302nd Infantry Achiever Brigade in Tanjay, Negros Or.; 303rd Infantry Brigade in Murcia, Negros Occ,; and 62nd Infantry Battalion in Sagay) went on a relief mission to Purok San Pedro Beach in Barangay Old Sagay, Negros Occidental, Philippines*:

a) to distribute relief food supplies and clothing collected by Monica from a Catholic school where she is teaching, the Social Action Team of the Catholic Diocese of Dumaguete, and ONCAN (Oriental Negros Children Advocacy Network); and

b) to train 150 persons in the set up and use of the eco-Kalan from Barangay Old Sagay who were worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan (locally called Yolanda). These trainees would become the demonstrators at eco-Kalan presentations in their barangay in the New Year. Of the 150 persons selected by Barangay Old Sagay officials, only 35 were from Purok San Pedro Beach.

Purok San Pedro Beach is a coastal village where fishing is the main livelihood. It is also the poorest of the typhoon devastated areas in Old Sagay. Since Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the eastern Visayas on November 8, 2013, little aid has reached this purok. The typical relief food package given to a family was 3kg of rice, 2-3 little cans of sardines and 2-3 packs of noodle soup -- a single day's meager provision for a family of 2 adults and 4 little children. Poor families extended the number of days they ate from this food aid by cooking the rice as lugaw -- i.e., rice boiled in lots of water.

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