By Angela Casco
To have a home one can call their own, a space that looks and feels familiar, and a roof over one’s head to provide
protection is to feel a sense of safety and comfort.
Not everyone has this privilege.
Many families living under poverty cannot afford housing, which is both a basic human need and right.
This is what retail hardware giant Handyman Philippines and shelter advocate Habitat for Humanity Philippines hope to give to families in need through their partnership.
“The combination is perfect because Habitat and Handyman are all about building homes,” says Stanley Co, general manager of Handyman.
This social responsibility initiative is in support of the Habitat’s existing Legacy of Hope campaign, which aims to uplift the lives of 300,000 families through sustainable communities filled with decent, affordable shelter—more specifically, disaster-resilient homes.
“These structures will be earthquake-proof and fire-resistant,” says Jamie Santos-Sugay, resource development and communications director of Habitat for Humanity Philippines.
These homes, which are expected to be in a duplex format, where two units are attached to each other, will also make use of bamboo as the primary material.
“Bamboo has the same strength required to put up a house,” adds Sugay. “At the same time, it grows much faster than regular lumber which makes it easier to be sourced as a construction material.”
On what makes a home disaster-resilient, Sugay says it has to be able to withstand a certain seismic magnitude scales and a certain wind speed.
Combining sustainability in the choice of materials and the quality that can tackle nature’s unexpected challenges is, for Habitat, the best way to build lasting communities.
“We like to think long term,” Sugay says. “The Philippines may not be the biggest contributor of carbon emissions in the world, but we are one of the 10 most susceptible to the effects of climate change because of our location. We want to make both disaster-resilient and sustainable homes to prevent future disasters.”
Sugay and the rest of Habitat are looking into Luzon area, Bacolod, and Tacloban for possible beneficiaries.
Also joining this cause is Herco Trading Inc. via a brand they distribute, Greenfield Tools. A promotion coinciding with Handyman’s 25th anniversary encourages every customer to be involved in the initiative. For every purchase of one Greenfield hand tool in any of the 169 branches nationwide until Oct. 16, another will be given to Habitat which will then distribute it to its beneficiaries.
“We’ve always believed in the vision of Habitat to provide homes for Filipinos,” says Wayne Coherco, executive vice president of Herco Trading Inc. “It will be a good opportunity for Greenfield to show that our tools, though local, are of high quality and can be equivalent to that of foreign counterparts. It also shows that we can help others and give back to the community.”
As of press time, a total of 6,000 tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches have already been sold. Should a customer wish to donate more, about 30 coin banks are also in select Handyman stores.
The initiative is an early Christmas present to the families who will be receiving their own home through the project.
“I wish this campaign succeeds,” Co says. “The more tools that customers can buy, the more tools we can donate to help build homes.”