Story of Elizabeth: Bouncing Back Through Bangon

“It took us over one year to recover from typhoon Haiyan. The slow progress of recovery in our community made our life difficult. Our house was washed out and our livelihoods were gone. We relied on relief aid for food and shelter. We stayed on a makeshift house where 15 people took refuge. We have nowhere else to go,” recalls Elizabeth, a CEVI borrower from Merida, Leyte.


After typhoon Haiyan hit their community, Elizabeth received little aid support from the government. It was only after almost two years after the typhoon when they received financial support from the government amounting to PhP30,000. “The money we received recently this year was still helpful but it would have been more helpful if we received it earlier, but thank God, we got a help from CEVI at that time,” says Elizabeth.


Two months after typhoon Haiyan, Elizabeth was able to avail the Bangon Recovery Loan from Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (CEVI) worth PhP25,000. It gave her the opportunity to rebuild their house, provide food for her family, and recover their livelihoods.


Elizabeth’s main source of income is finding "Imbao" or commonly called as Mangrove Clam. She finds the shell buried in the mud of mangrove areas. It usually grows to a maximum size of 8-9 cm shell length at a weight of 180-210 grams. The shell is popular for its large size and juicier taste than sea oysters. Elizabeth sells 5 Imbao shells around her neighborhood for PhP20. Her sales for the day would reach to PhP500. She goes out to the shore in the morning and returns home in the afternoon with her bucket filled with shells.


Through the loans, Elizabeth was able to send her three children to school. She is proud that one of them already graduated in college and works at a call center company in Cebu. Elizabeth is now supporting the education of her two children; Arvin, first year in college, and Antonio, graduating in college. Both of her two children study Mechanical Engineering.


Her only hope and dream is for her children to finish their studies and have a brighter future.


Elizabeth has been a member of CEVI since 2010. Her husband, Antonio, is very supportive of her. Elizabeth takes the leading role as Chairman in the CEVI Cluster meeting. Currently she has repaid her Bangon loan and took out another, the Yaman 2 loan, which is based on capacity and enterprise need.


When asked what made her stay long in CEVI, she answered, “If CEVI hasn’t help us, I wouldn’t be a member until this time. CEVI helps us a lot especially on the education of my children.”


Elizabeth and her family now lives together in their newly built house where they have enough space. Their livelihood are back to normal operation. Gone are the days when they relied on relief aid and squeezed in a makeshift house.


Their experience of typhoon Haiyan made them stronger and resilient, able to bounce back from adversities of life.