November 8, 2013 is no ordinary day. What happened shattered thousands of lives. Super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) may have passed but the traumatic memories of lost lives, displaced families, hunger and devastation will live on in the minds of the Filipinos.

Not being at the calamity scene does not mean we can simply ignore the pains of the afflicted. And GK USA Chicago Team did not turn its back. The caring and sharing mindset gave rise to what the group has accomplished today- yes, 5 years after Yolanda came.

The team wrestled with their first few steps but remained undaunted. From their personal donations, to several fundraising events, to individual and group partnerships, all these were labors of love which provided not only homes but a community center and livelihood programs to what is now known as the Chicago Yolanda GK Village. This village is located in Bgy. Malbog, Tolosa, Leyte, Philippines. It is home to 38 families.


“My family and I would like to give thanks to God and Gawad Kalinga, especially to Chicago USA who is our sponsor. Without them, I do not know where we would be now after typhoon Yolanda. Before the typhoon hit, we live in an area prone to landslides. Our house before is just made of nipa hut. Every time there is a storm or heavy rain which takes 3-5 days before it stops, I always look for a safety place for my family to avoid the landslide. This has been our routine for many years. I tried to seek money so we can buy our own house but my salary is just good enough to provide for our daily needs.

Truly, Gawad Kalinga is a big blessing to us. Now, whenever there is a storm or heavy rains, I know that my family will be safe. To the Chicago Team USA and to Gawad Kalinga, thank you so much. I hope that you will continue to do good things to others who are in need.”

Mr. Cresencio L. Abraham

Mr. Cresencio L. Abraham, husband of Mrs. Lilia M. Abraham is a father of 2. He was a former baker who retired from his work because of sickness.


  • The Ellen Browne Community Center is being used by the Chicago Yolanda GK Village and the GK USA Hope Village 7 inside the GK USA Community.
  • It was built
    • as a training center for the different livelihood programs
    • as a venue for the different Values Formation teachings
    • as a place to hold Kapitbahayan (beneficiary) meetings
    • as a learning center for small children not yet in school
    • as a receiving area for partners and visitors


The need for livelihood programs became a key component for the sustainability of a village. With greater passion, the Chicago team continued to knock on the hearts of its partners. And the first livelihood program, the pedicab (bicycle with side wheels), enabled to provide an alternative means of income when the weather gets bad to beneficiaries who are farmers and fishermen.

Other kinds of livelihood programs suited to the skills of the beneficiaries and the needs of the community are on their way:

  • rice farming
  • vegetable farming
  • sewing
  • steel fabrication
  • bamboo furniture making

The caring and the sharing continues, with or without a calamity. GK Chicago renews its commitment to support Gawad Kalinga’s fight against poverty and in the end we know, their persistence will prevail.