JR Catacio dreams of being a police officer someday. But because of their situation at home — having a very small living space located within the danger zone, sometimes with no electricity, and not conducive for studying as the area is also noisy — he had doubts.

“I might not be able to finish college and land on a good job. What if I don’t reach my dreams?” the young boy recalls with a shaky voice and tears welling up in his eyes.

Their old house has a space so small that JR and his father won’t fit in. So, they slept outside with just tarpaulin hung around as makeshift walls to cover them. Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013 left the house fragile and with many leaks, while JR and his siblings were traumatized. JR was only 9 years old when it happened.

Every time they would hear the sound of the rain and the wind blowing strongly, they would remember the night of Typhoon Yolanda’s landfall. “I would feel pain in my chest,” says JR.

Aside from the damage to their house and the emotional trauma, Typhoon Yolanda also destroyed their fishing boat which is the family’s main source of livelihood. JR’s father resorted to being a tricycle driver.

With the help of Operation Blessing through its Community of Hope project, Catacio family was given a decent home where they started again after the storm. 

“Our life before was difficult. We lived near the sea and our house was small. It’s dangerous whenever there’s a typhoon. But today, we’re better because we have a new house. It’s not crowded anymore. Thank you so much, Operation Blessing, for giving us a house. You made life easier for us.” Now 13 years old, JR is grateful for the new house his family lives in.

The aim of our Community of Hope initiative is to provide for all of our beneficiary families not just houses to live in, but more importantly, hope to live on — hope that someone cares, hope that they are not forgotten, hope for a better future — the hope that comes from God.

With all of the help from our donors, sponsors, partners, and volunteers, we were able to bless and house about a hundred families in the Community of Hope in Tabango, Leyte. On top of that, they are also given seminars and training on livelihood like poultry farming and food processing. As the saying goes, “Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We are positive that JR and the rest of those who are in the Community of Hope will also share the hope that they received from God.