Responding to the Marawi Crisis
Our team is currently preparing to assist IDPs from Marawi City, after a terrorist led siege caused the displacement of more than 400,000 of its inhabitants. Through Garden to Garden Releaf, we hope to provide immediate support for food security, water, and waste management using permaculture solutions.
Through our friends from the United Religions Initiative, we are piloting at the Ma'had Al-Nor madrasa which turned into an evacuation center housing 160 families at 501 persons total.
Garden to Garden is a cycle where assistance is garden based from the start to finish - whether its relief goods from fresh vegetables or natural products to regenerative livelihoods that source from the garden.
A separate project focused on ecovillage design for rehabilitation and development follows this first assistance.
Each room in this madrasa turned evacuation center fits 6-10 families. Many of them only brought things good for 3 days thinking they would be back home after. It is now two months since. Children eat together as a family in this photo and I appreciate the closeness of their circle embraced by the security of whatever possessions they have left.
We are truly inspired to collaborate with the Marawi IDPs and Ustadz Abdulkarim Ambor who leads the Ma'had Al-Nor madrasa turned evacuation center here in Iligan City. Yesterday we started to assess a possible Permaculture design plan by mapping their ecosystem together - working with identifying nearby water bodies, frequency, and flow; sun and shade, wind; soil quality; and waste management practices so we can understand how to design nature based solutions and model their site as an Ecovillage,
At the madrasa turned evacuation center, one of the primary needs is water for 500 people who share only two faucets. Iligan has been receiving a lot of rain in the afternoon almost everyday - why not create a rain water catchment and filtering system? So this is what we are starting with as #permacultureaid. Raymond Mendoza, one of our permaculture facilitators from Cagayan de Oro (nearby city) guides the community on how
Ustadz Abdulkarim Ambor who leads the Ma'had Al-Nor madrasa turned evacuation center and our permaculture facilitator Reymondjie Apinohon from Bukidnon work on where we could place rainwater catchment systems. Ustaz identifies this spot near where people take a bath and where a small canal becomes the channel for outflow of water after use. This is how observation of nature is key to Permaculture design. At the madrasa turned evacuation center, one of the primary needs is water for 500 people who share only two faucets. Iligan has been receiving a lot of rain in the afternoon almost everyday - why not create a rain water catchment and filtering system? So this is what we are starting with as #permacultureaid.
One of the completed simple rainwater catchments for Ma'had Al-Nor madrasa turned evacuation center for 160 Marawi IDP families at 501 pax living here sharing two faucets. Permaculture teaches us to catch and store energy and not to put anything to waste. Rain frequents Iligan City especially in the afternoons and so we wanted to make use of it given the challenge of water especially during a 3 day water pipeline repair in the city that happened and only one faucet was functioning. Touching to hear about them lend one of the containers to another community and just use their pails and buckets.
As we interacted more and more with the Marawi IDPs at the Ma'had Al-Nor madrasa, we found out that many of them are still eating relief goods - canned sardines, corned beef, tuna, noodles, and dried fish for two months now. Most of these are full of MSG and preservatives that are not healthy if taken regularly- breakfast, lunch, dinner. They only have vegetables If they can afford it. Thus, we teamed up with OrganiKo, an organization in Iligan sourcing organic produce from different farms by Indigenous Peoples, Muslims, and Christians. At 30 Pesos (0.50 USD), each pack has a combination of any of 4 vegetables: eggplants, tomatoes, ginger, chilies, moringa, squash, and bitter gourd. It feels right to share this to their unhealthy diet, a way to restore dignity in their situation. Next month, we start with their community gardens as when they get to return home is still unclear.
This is Nihaya, one of the 5 babies born as an internally displaced person (IDP) at the Mahad Al-Nor Madrasa in Iligan City which was turned into an evacuation center overnight. Taking a moment in between meetings to process her hopeful reminder of life among the death and destruction happening just over the border in the next province. She is among 80 other families cramped in this center, a small percentage of the more than three hundred thousand displaced from the besieged city of Marawi City since May this year. Our team is listening and observing possible Permaculture and Ecovillage solutions to support basic needs. Will continue to keep Nihaya in my heart and mind as we move with our next steps. Thank you Nihaya, you remind us of a better future worth designing and co-creating.