Today, as we celebrate the role of development workers in World Humanitarian Day, we highlight how the members of vulnerable communities are development workers, themselves.
We celebrate the efforts of every community member to prepare against disasters and everyone's roles as first responder to one's own home villages in times of emergencies. We acknowledge every push, when struck, towards recovery as the whole community work hand-in-hand to build back a better version of their "homes."
As church-based institutions and a faith-based networks, we witness this first hand. Every corner of the country our parishes are homes to people seeking refuge to communities lashed by disasters brought either by natural and human-induced hazards or by both. It is part of our parochial function not only to give shelter but to educate, advocate, and assist the people towards unity in preparedness. And when struck, we help respond by providing each and every one a rights-based intervention until they are nurtured back to working towards recovery.
We may have the structure when it comes to emergency response as church with parishes in every municipality and lay organizations in every community, but our effectiveness as well rests on the people. The very people we call vulnerable are the same people who can be most effective in dealing with their conditions when capacitated and involved in development work.
This is our experience in 2013 Yolanda response. That our partner peoples' organization, though heavily affected, community-based organizations like HERO of Homonhon and PROMISI of Manicani Island were our partners in responding during the first crucial weeks. A living manifestation that in preparedness, it is highly important to capacitate the people as first responders. They should not be treated as victims only but a proactive resource we work in partnership with.
The Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc., as a network of faith-based, rights, and environmental groups believes in capacitating the community towards its own sufficiency to respond to their own, without heavily relying on outside help. Our present project, Project Pagbangon, transitioned from emergency response to a stricken community towards rehabilitation and holistic developmeny by empowering its partner communities. It aims for an integrative development that involves the people and one thay can benefit majority if not all. All are consulted based on their needs. All are part of rebuilding their resilience. One community, one home. One in preparedness.
Today, you are a development worker. Not a beneficiary, not a vulnerable sector. You are a building block of your community in achieving its resilience. Today we celebrate you and your work.