The Jamudin Family Story by April dela Cruz/CRS.
Abdunaser Jamudin, 66, used to work in the military from 1998. In 2012, he had to quit due to some family problems. When their family issues were resolved, he hopped from one job to another after as a freelance carpenter and welder as he wasn’t able to return in his previous work.
Even when he was working in the military, Jamudin and his family shared a home with his brother.
“We are eight in the family and we all share the same house with my brother. Even it was a difficult situation, we were living peacefully,” said Jamudin. His three children are still studying and his wife tends to them while the other three are working as part-time in a canning factory to help in their everyday needs.
When the siege happened last September 2013, they were clueless about it. “We were never informed that there was a fighting going on. We were just at home that time and we just heard lots of gunshots outside,” Jamudin said.
Once they noticed that the gunshots continued and heard from neighbors what was happening, they evacuated as fast as they could to Talon-Talon High School, few kilometers from their home. They thought it was just a temporary situation.
“We never thought we’d spent two months in that evacuation center. We shared a home with my brother, but in the evacuation center, the 8 of us shared a classroom and a toilet with 10 families or 30 people approximately,” Jamudin shared.
During their stay in the evacuation center, they were given free food and water because they were not able to bring anything with them except some clothes and some food for maximum of two days.
After staying for two months in the classroom, his family as well as the other evacuees, were given options to transfer either in Taluksangay or Tulungatung bunk houses provided by the local government. They chose Taluksangay as it was closer. Since there were 8 of them, they got the 22-square meter bunk house for them alone. But some families with less than 5 members should share with another family.
“It was very small for us, but at least we don’t need to share with others. I was fortunate enough to be able to find some job while they’re in Taluksangay. I worked and help in the construction and was earning Php2800 per week, which helps us save some small money just in case we can transfer,” said Jamudin.
However, Jamudin never thought they’d be living in the bunkhouse for more than three years. “We cannot afford to rent a house with our meager earnings and the other expenses we pay like the kids’ tuition and allowances. I also thought this was better compared to sharing a small house with my brother.”
Fortunately, in 2015, Jamudin learned about the shelter project of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zamboanga (RCAZ) through the Community and Family Services International (CFSI).
Through the Catholic Relief Services, RCAZ, CFSI and with assistance from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Australia (DFAT Australia), untagged internally displaced families like him got a chance to have their own house through the Zamboanga Shelter Durable Solutions project.
Supporting the Zamboanga City’s Roadmap for Reconstruction and Recovery (Z3R) plan, by the end of August, more than 400 vulnerable untagged internally displace families are now living in safer communities with access to safe water and sanitary facilities.
“Thanks to these organizations, we now have our own house. Up to these days, I still can’t believe I have my own house for my family,” said Jamudin.