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Unilever starts community-building projects in Leyte

More than 100 days after super typhoon Yolanda struck land, livelihood and permanent shelter issues continue to loom over Leyte as thousands are left jobless and hundreds of families are still living in tents.
Addressing these concerns is Unilever Philippines who has raised close to P80 million for relief and rehabilitation and has begun community-building projects to help get the province back on its feet.
Part of the initial response of the business was in support of the Diskwento Caravan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and in relief support through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Now focusing on long-term support for Leyte, Unilever Philippines has rolled out “Sustainable Living Communities”, a program that not only provides immediate shelter in disaster-stricken communities but also a sustainable future through livelihood and skills development training.
Recognizing the need to lay the groundwork for these communities, Unilever partnered with Operation Compassion Philippines, a relief and developmental non-government organization tasked by the government to construct 2,000 temporary shelters in the small coastal town of Mayorga.
The ongoing project will benefit more than 7,000 residents.
The shelters will be divided into clusters, with each one having a common kitchen area and shower facility.
Unilever will help fund the construction of two clusters, and plans to establish 500 Sustainable Living Communities nationwide by the end of 2014.
Throughout the rebuilding process, members of Operation Compassion Philippines will also stay and live with the people to help them rebuild their homes and come up with a long-term development plan for the holistic transformation of the town’s 16 barangays.
“Signs of the devastation still line the scenery across affected communities, serving as reminders of how much remains to be done. Other signs however – businesses are reopening, children heading back to school, health workers back at work, or water flowing again through community taps – convey a growing, albeit tentative, sense of recovery. As the focus shifts to reconstruction, Unilever is committed in helping the Philippines back on its feet, while addressing poverty and building the resilience of communities in the longer term,” said Unilever chairman and CEO Rohit Jawa.

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