In many developed countries where the decision is mostly about people thinking if they should buy or rent a house, the other parts of the world provide an entirely different perspective. Many of us can be privileged to afford rent in a comfortable space, or even own our home, but others are unfortunately in extremely difficult living situations that one cannot even imagine.
The Reality of the Philippine Housing Crisis
Metro Manila, the main metropolitan area of the Philippines, can look like a bustling region gradually developing with high-end establishments and commercial skyscrapers. However, not many foreigners know what the rural areas of the Philippines can look like, as quality establishments are highly concentrated in the metropolitan area.
What people would discover is that in many rural areas of this Southeast Asian country, people are struggling to get a decent shelter. Many of their homes are made up of bamboo, plywood, aluminum, or tarpaulin patched up together just barely protecting them from the elements. Some who are fortunate enough to have concrete in their homes try to build it themselves, resulting in faulty foundations, which can be dangerous during typhoon season.
The crisis lies in the fact that since the Philippines is prone to annual typhoons, these homes can easily be swept away, causing harm and loss for the rural Filipinos. Many of these residents live below the country’s poverty line, which means they cannot afford to build or buy higher-quality homes.
If you are an American or someone who lives in a developed country, it doesn’t take much to help these Filipinos who are in deep need. In this post, philanthropist Marc Zboch shares the many ways Americans and other foreigners can do their part in solving the Filipino housing crisis.
Donating to charities that help in Philippine housing problems
The easiest way to make an impact even when you are not a missionary or a heavily active philanthropist is to donate to charities that aid in the Filipino housing crisis.
Charities such as Christ Reaching Asian Mission (CRAM) and Habitat for Humanity (Asia Pacific) provide resources through generous donors for Filipinos to rebuild their homes.
It is less expensive for Americans and foreigners to fund the rebuilding of these homes, as many are living day to day, unable to pay for the expenses of housing materials. A poor Filipino family making $4.00 a day can easily spend over half their pay on food. This leaves little for clothing, housing, transportation and children's education expenses.
For as low as $70, you can buy materials for a small shack using better materials that will last longer in typhoon-prone weather. A donation of around $500 will also help in building a small home for a family of 8.
Immersion and volunteerism
One of the most fulfilling ways to extend a helping hand to Filipinos is through immersion and volunteerism in the rural areas of the country. Filipinos are known to be very hospitable, friendly, and grateful to volunteers who help build their communities.
Marc recalls his experiences working with Filipinos in rebuilding homes in the province, and he mentions it as one of his touching moments during his philanthropic work. The people were deeply grateful and emotional for the simple efforts made in communing with them and helping them in projects.
Additionally, the locals are also more than willing to tour you around the best spots to enjoy the best of the Philippines’ nature locations. The country is rich with many pristine beaches, waterfalls, mountains, and grasslands that one will consider a tropical paradise--a little bonus for those who want to book a trip while making an impact.
You can partner with local charities or nonprofits that serve the rural region of your choice. Make sure to listen to safety protocols and other instructions to keep you and your fellow volunteers safe while adhering to your mission work.
Raising awareness through your own platform
Another way to help is by raising awareness in your own sphere of influence. If you have personally donated to a Philippine housing non-profit, you can share information with your network on how others can donate as well. This can be done through various ways such as:
Social media: Sharing a post on how others can donate to your nonprofit of choice can help raise higher funds.
Crowdfunding: You can set up your own crowdfunding online and direct the payments to a nonprofit.
Creating content: If you own a blog or website, Youtube channel, or a podcast, you can create content about this social issue to help bring awareness to others.
Raising awareness is similar to ripples on water. Your one simple act can reach others who will pass the good work forward.
Having your own projects in partnership with the community
If you are someone who wants to take on a fully active role as a philanthropist, you can make your own building projects in collaboration with the community you want to help.
You can reach out to the local government, a community nonprofit, or someone you know living in the Philippines to set up such projects for rebuilding the rural Filipino’s homes. You can either participate in person by traveling or simply manage the project virtually while providing the funds needed. When you create such projects, it is important to find people whom you can trust to make them happen.
A Little Goes A Long Way: Helping Filipinos Live Better
Through many years of philanthropic experiences by Marc Zboch, one thing he has learned is that the help of donors which can be seemingly ‘small’ can mean so much to those on the receiving end. With these suggestions, you can take part in changing people’s lives for the better in developing countries.