|A report by Bernd Höhle,
MjrGen CSLI und Commander of SoF
After a major fire in the slums of Manila, 45 families became homeless. Once again, people and families who already live in the poorest conditions have lost the very little that they had. As we have already shown in some of our film reports, the families often live in one-room houses with 6-9 people on a hotplate of about ten square meters. Obviously far below even the lowest limit of poverty. As the Sword of Freedom we wanted to help rebuild the houses. We collected the money for the necessary building materials at various events (as previously reported) and under the supervision of our SoF members on the ground, the necessary building materials were purchased little by little and we (of course) documented everything.
For us it is unimaginable how people can live in such conditions and still haven’t lost their smile. Bernd Höhle from the SoF remarked: “Many infants and children live here – they don’t have a good start in life. The shacks and sheds they live or rather survive in reflect their hard lives …”
The government has also responded to the disaster and built a provisional “shelter cage” right in the middle of the busy, exhaust-filled main street – unbelievable! But the attached images (a picture is worth a thousand words) clearly show the effects of having eked out an existence in those cages. Our photographer documented everything with pictures and film.
After receiving the permission for the reconstruction, building materials were purchased and houses were built with a team of helpers as best as possible.
In the dwellings, the helpers started by putting roofs on a wooden framework. This gave people literally a roof over their heads. Then the walls were put up with timber plates which were bricked up afterwards. The 45 families now have permanent homes again. Many thanks to SoF officer Andy Kunz for the coordination and monitoring of the Project.
The commander of the Civil Military Battalion NRC, a civil protection unit of the Philippine Army, awarded the SoF with a lifetime membership to show its gratitude.
GenMjr CSLI Bernd Höhle is, together with Col CSLI Danny Koch, also a delegate of the Lazarus Union at the United Nations ECOSOC in Geneva.