Volunteers from the two Catholic organisations pose for a photo with residents at the building site.Volunteers from the two Catholic organisations pose for a photo with residents at the building site.For five days, volunteers from Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS) and Couples for Christ (CFC) Singapore joined hands to help rebuild the homes of Typhoon Haiyan survivors in Bogo City in Northern Cebu, Philippines.

From Aug 29 to Sept 2, the 36 volunteers comprising many  first-timers, took part in house-building and spent time engaging and forging friendships with the locals, many of whom had received financial assistance from CHARIS to rebuild their lives.

The missionaries also attended a welcome lunch with Mayor Junie Martinez and the locals. During the trip, the group provided post-trauma art therapy sessions for the affected families.

Two volunteers and art therapists from The Red Pencil International Ltd, a non-profit organisation based in Singapore which focuses on art therapy, helped children from displaced families engage in a healing process of creative expression.

“No photos or words can describe the beauty of the experiences on this trip. Every little thing and every person made this journey truly memorable,” said volunteer Gabriel Lee.

“I hope that everyone, in any capacity, can come forward to experience the love and work of God in this manner some day,” Mr Lee added.

For more information on CHARIS, visit www.charis-singapore.org

By Anne Tay
Forming a human chain to move hollow bricks.Forming a human chain to move hollow bricks.
Volunteers chatting with a resident who runs a small provisional shop.Volunteers chatting with a resident who runs a small provisional shop.

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