Rajneesh Jain

Children's Villages International Representative International Office Region Asia

A boat for sustainable life

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This story is about emergency relief work in Tacloban, Philippines conducted by SOS Children’s Villages. As you know a super Typhoon (Yolanda) hit Philippines in the year 2013. Tacloban was one of the worst affected areas. SOS Children’s Villages initiated emergency relief work there and did emergency operations in three phases: Relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. In the rehabilitation phase, we provided livelihood to around 500 families. I am narrating an incident about this livelihood intervention.

Boats as basis for livelihood
To provide appropriate livelihood support, it was a necessary step to conduct a discussion with the affected families to know their opinion and situation. During this process, we met fisherman community. Livelihood of these families was mainly dependent on fishing and other related things. In the typhoon, their wooden boats had destroyed and they wanted to have a new one to restart their life. They were keen to get wooden boats again only as they were quite familiar with these kinds of boats. When we checked the feasibility of procuring or making wooden boats, we realised that it is illegal to get wooden trunks of needed length to make wooden boats. Therefore we tried to identify alternatives to wooden boats in discussion with our emergency relief team. From our Tsunami experience, we knew that fibre boats with engines were more efficient and effective for fishing purpose. So we tried to look for the manufacturer of fibre boat in nearby market in Tacloban but couldn’t find anyone. Finally we went to Manila and met with a few manufactures of fibre boats. One of them was ready to make and supply these boats in weeks’ time to Tacloban. To our pleasant surprise these fibre boats with power engine were much cheaper and had capacity to go deeper in the sea and catch more fish. So we ordered these fibre boats. They were supplied to Tacloban and finally delivered to fisherman community.

Improved living conditions after fatal loss caused by natural disaster
Initially the fisherman community was little reluctant to adopt these fibre boats because they were more comfortable with wooden ones and hence we conducted some training and orientation program with these fishermen about the usage, functionality and maintenance of these fibre boats so that they were better prepared to handle them.

After sometime it was realised that the yield of fishermen has increased by switching over from wooden to fibre boats. We were really satisfied to see this impact of livelihood intervention in emergency program in Tacloban.
Personally and professional it was satisfying for me to organise and co-ordinate all these activities like interacting with local community, discussion with colleagues, dealing with vendors and government agency. Outcome was very clear: SOS could introduce new technology of fibre boat in Tacloban area which will benefit the fishermen community in the long run and in a big way.

Rajneesh Jain

joined SOS CV India in 1999. He is currently Children's Villages International Representative at the  International Office in the Region Asia.

The insight that the place of work is a great place for indulgence and enrichment is a priceless treasure he discovers in his work. Every morning he looks forward to reaching office with great excitement and enthusiasm. The whole office for him is treasure. It provides him with a tangible platform to deliver and to feel psychologically satisfied especially when things are implemented on the ground and impact is realised. Complementing this is the family, which for him, is a place to recharge energy. Each family member, Rajneesh observes is a source of different kind of energy. Leisure is for him pleasure in gossiping with friends, sharing moments with his family and practicing yoga.