IN AN effort to reach out to people in Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines, Habitat for Humanity-Davao and Caraga called for volunteers last January 25 to repack relief goods for the victims of Tropical Depression Agaton.

Habitat for Humanity and their volunteers repacked rice, clothes, coffee, milk and sugar for families in affected areas. Hygiene kits comprised of bath soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, laundry soap, deodorant, sanitary napkins and alcohol were also repacked, and water was also set aside to be distributed to the survivors.

Although Habitat for Humanity is primarily a housing organization, Habitat's head of regional operations in Davao and Caraga, Atty. Abdussabor B. Sawadjaan Jr. said, "the need for relief goods is great in areas affected by Agaton."

While giving out relief goods is standard in disaster response, Habitat for Humanity also has their own brand of responding to calamities as they also build disaster response housing, which is free for the victims.

Aside from the disaster response housing, Habitat's main endeavor is to build decent homes for Filipinos. According to Sawadjaan, there is a housing backlog of four million for Filipinos, and only half of them can afford socialized housing. Habitat for Humanity's goal is to reduce that backlog by 20 percent.

Sawadjaan said they aim to do this by bringing people together. He said that their goal may be achieved by bringing corporations, students, volunteers and people from all walks of life together to create a collective effort, and explained how.

Large corporations sponsor the housing by helping provide land and money for building homes.

Habitat for Humanity's partner, Pag-ibig, will then handle the selling of the houses for them.

To help them spread the word about Habitat for Humanity, Sawadjaan said they have enlisted the help of young professionals who are capable of reaching out to more people.

In Davao and Caraga areas, they are Atty. Jason Joyce, Reyson Yap, Gino Gabriento, Claudine Bautista and Bianca Dizon.

Sawadjaan said Habitat's target beneficiaries are teachers, government employees and the informally employed.