Czech Ambassador Jaroslav Olsa in conversations with women's group of Barangay Panan-awan , Marabut in Samar who received assistance from the Czech government due to Yolanda's devastation.
Czech Ambassador Jaroslav Olsa in conversations with women’s group of Barangay Panan-awan , Marabut in Samar who received assistance from the Czech government due to Yolanda’s devastation.

Tacloban City – Zaltisa Macatimpag said that she and other women of their village could now be assured that after the biggest storm that they encountered, life would no longer that difficult for them. Aside from losing their homes, the villagers also lost their main source of income- rice fields.
With this grim situation, they thought that everything was lost to them.

Thanks largely to the interventions of the Caritas Czech Republic which provided them the much needed assistance when their village of Panan-awan was hit by supertyphoon “Yolanda” on November 8, 2013.

The Caritas Czeck Republic, ably supported by the Czeck government, poured sizeable financial assistance to Panan-awan and other villages of Marabut and nearby town of Basey.

The towns of Basey and Marabut were the hardest-hit areas in Samar, one of the impoverished provinces in the country, when Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) pummeled the region. “We are truly grateful to them. Without their assistance, we don’t know will happen to us. We may have survived Yolanda but we don’t know what kind of life we will be having after that storm,” the 44 year old mother of seven children said.

Together with other women of the village,12 kilometers away from the town center, the Caritas Czeck Republic formed them into group and help them put up a one hectare vegetable garden.

Meantime, the men of the village were also given assistance in the form of palay seeds and other farm implements for them to revive their main source of incomes.
The farmers were trained to resort to organic farming which yields more palay aside from being not environmental harmful.

Macatimpag said that all their harvests are being sold by them either at the market or just among their neighbors.
“We are now earning because of our vegetable garden. Aside from our communal garden, we also have our own respective gardens of vegetables which we use for our own consumption,” she said.

On May 25, no less than Ambassador Jaroslav Olsa visited the village for him not only to see the progress of the project financed by his government but also to interact with the villagers.
“And I am happy what I have seen,” Olsa later said during a brief interview.

He was joined by his assistant, Jan Vytopil and Helena Kotkova, country representative to the Philippines of the Caritas Czeck Republic.
The ambassador also visited the New San Agustin in Basey where farmers of the said village were also provided assistance.

Ambassador Olsa’s last stopped during his brief visit to Samar was the Basey II Elementary School in Basey where said school received assistance in the form of chairs, bookshelves and computers. (JOEY A. GABIETA)