Rebuilding community in the wake of destruction – permaculture in the Philippines

According to local volunteers, Barbaza on Panay island in the Philippines was ranked number 3 in the area for malnourishment, even before Typhoon Haiyan hit. But a Gold Coast woman, with the help of other motivated volunteers has a vision for ensuring no child goes hungry, while helping to rebuild community in the wake of destruction.

Brittany Laidlaw has only just graduated from uni. Now based in the Philippines, she will sta in Barbaza for two years with a team of volunteers who have identified the need to deliver sustainable aid rather than just immediate response type aid.

Brittany and her team have formed a new organisation called Green Warrior Permaculture and they’ve just been given the green light by local officials and the Mayor to continue their work.

In the Philippines with her fiancé Mark, Brittany is on a mission to make Barbaza a model of true ecological and economic sustainability in the Philippines.

“Our goal is to make Barbaza a local and global leader in recover and resilience,” Brittany said. “To do this our team will be based here for 2 years; offering training in permaculture, organic farming, disaster-resilient construction design, animal husbandry and sustainable livelihoods.”

“With the help of a borrowed bike, we have recently begun designs and construction of new permaculture gardens with the children at two local schools,” Brittany said.

The team is also aiming to support communities to learn about healthy home gardens and environmental care and to build a nursery to grow 40,000 trees to replace those destroyed by the typhoon or burned in local villages for cooking charcoal.

As an alternative locals will be introduced to the lorena stove, which uses around 10% of the firewood required for existing fires.

Brittany and her team are hoping to purchase a Permaculture Rural Extension Package (PREP Kit) which will arm them with the tools and transport needed to help rebuild the communities they’re working with. The kits includes tools required to construct and maintain the gardens such as trowels, shovels, forks, hoes and small hand cultivators. The kit also includes organic, non-hybrid open-pollinated seeds to be planted in the gardens with children.

“Currently the only seeds that are available in Barbaza are chemical-laced hybrid seeds that are pre-dipped in fungicide, making them strange colours like pink, blue and fluorescent green,” Brittany said.

“These kinds of seeds create a dependency on chemical inputs to keep them in best health but good organic seeds will eliminate the need for this.”

The kit also includes an off-road 200cc trail bike built for tough terrain. The bike would allow the team to access remote parts of Barbaza where the poorest and most undernourished people live.

“To transport all the tools, seeds and our team to the schools, this package also includes an off-road 200CC trail bike that can handle rough terrain. This would allow us to access the most rural areas of Barbaza where the poorest and most malnourished people often live.”

A PREP kit costs $5000 AUD and Brittany and her team are hoping to raise funds through crowdfunding.

“Every donor will receive a photo of their donation being used in the field, a Green Warrior Support Crew certificate and their name will feature on one of our earth bag designs at the local school,” Brittany said.

“We’re also seeking Australian schools to parter with us and support Barbaza schools in a Sister School Program.”

To help contact brittany_laidlaw@hotmail.com.
Read more about Green Warrior Permaculture www.permacultureaid.tumblr.com/
Join on www.facebook.com/greenwarriorpermaculture.

 

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