Make A Difference.

Support the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

From the Field

Volunteers visit stranded ships

The LCT Rosman grounded ship is due to set sail again

Volunteers with VFV will often visit some of the sites around Tacloban badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

One of the popular places to visit is an area where huge vessels were washed ashore by Haiyan and have remained grounded since. The liners have now become part of communities as temporary accommodation has been built around the ships.

But now one of the vessels – LCT Rosman – is preparing to leave dry land and swing into operation again.

Captain Michael Flores said: “We have 12 men working on the ship preparing to launch it. I expect it to launch Saturday (today) or Sunday (tomorrow). It will then stay in the water here for a couple of weeks as we prepare permits to take it back to Manila.”

One of the workers, Robin, recalled the horror of discovering bodies underneath the ship when they lifted the 350 gross tonnage boat using hydraulic jacks. “We discovered 15 bodies. All ages. There were babies, teenagers, males and females and some older people. It was heartbreaking,” he said.

Volunteers take pictures of some of the ships and typhoon devastation

All those found under the ship had lived in the local area and the workers said it is very difficult as the marooned ship serves as a permanent reminder of the disaster to the local people.

Unlike some of the other stranded vessels, LCT Rosman did not suffer any structural or mechanical damage when it was washed ashore. This week workers at the site were putting the finishing touches to the aesthetics of the vessel and painting it.

Typhoon Haiyan struck on November 8, 2013, and is thought to have killed around 10,000 people. Many are still unaccounted for and thousands more were left homeless.

There is no sign of movement for the other ships in the area. All of them have watchmen on them to safeguard them from intruders. One of them sits next to aptly named by locals ‘Yolanda Village’ and helps to hold up a makeshift basketball net.

Some of them carry slogans from locals ‘we need food rice and water’ others have more light-hearted messages on them ‘for sale’ and ‘hope floats’ whilst some have heartfelt messages from volunteers and wellwishers from around the globe ‘to Yolanda victims, do not lose hope we will continue to help’.

Captain Michael preparing to set sail

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer with VFV? Find out more here http://www.visayans.org/volunteer

*Written by volunteer Michelle Curran, journalist and editor from the UK




Posted in Disaster Relief, News, Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment

Mothers get cooking for sponsored kids

Nanay Corazon Mabahin is very happy to be involved in the feeding programme

Mothers of sponsored children in Cangumbang are heading into the kitchen and cooking nutritious food for their kids through one of VFV’s feeding programmes.

Volunteers have always cooked lunch for the 35 children sponsored through VFV in the village but in an attempt to make the community more self-sufficient they have started handing over some of the duties to the nanays (mothers).

Three volunteers Melissa, Alban and Lauren came up with the idea. Alban said that during their placement they noticed that there were many people in the community not working.

Alban said: “It should be that we are helping them, not doing it all ourselves. We wanted to make them more self-sufficient. By getting the mothers to do the cooking it means the volunteers can concentrate on nutrition education programmes with the kids and passing our knowledge on to the local people.”

Alban said the trio spoke with VFV staff and then made a presentation to the nanays about why they should become more involved in the feeding programme. The response was fantastic as the mothers were keen to help.

Volunteer Alban and Nanay Maricel Superales buy ingredients at the market

To start with volunteers will take the nanays to the market each day and teach them how to manage the budget, what quantities of ingredients they need and give them ideas for recipes. Volunteers have always decided what to cook for the children each day and try and give them as much variety as possible.

“We will teach them about what is good food, why a lack of good food can be dangerous, why variety is important, why meat and vegetables are good for children and then teach them what to do everyday and how to handle the budget we have to spend on the meals,” said Alban.

Nanay Corazon Mabahin said she was so excited about being involved in the programme she couldn’t sleep properly the night before. “It is very exciting. It’s very nice for the volunteers to share their knowledge to many nanays here in Cangumbang. I enjoyed travelling with Sir Alban to the market. I learnt so much about meats and vegetables and what is of (nutritious) value for our children.”

Nanay Maricel Superales echoed this and added: “We have learnt a lot about what is nutritious for our children.”

Children tuck into lunch in Cangumbang

The nanays involvement so far seems to be going down well with the kids. Cherrymae, 12, said: “We like the volunteers because they are friendly and they teach us to have a good attitude. It has been nice having our nanays cook. They are good cooks.”

Alban concluded: “This new way of doing things shouldn’t just be for lunch. By giving them information about nutrition it should follow through to the meals they prepare for their children for breakfast and dinner.”

Are you interested in volunteering and making a difference? Click here to find out more information http://www.visayans.org/volunteer

*Written by volunteer Michelle Curran, journalist and editor from the UK

Posted in Child Sponsorship, Child Welfare, Education, News, Nutrition Volunteers, Uncategorized, Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment

Sponsoring makes sense

Sponsored children attend tutorials. In this session the students completed an engineering project to build a mechanical lift

Dozens of children are given a helping hand to get an education through VFV’s sponsorship scheme.

Currently 151 children in Southern Leyte stretching from Ormoc to Cangumbang, Tacloban and Planza Island are sponsored through VFV.

It costs $300 a year to sponsor a student, and anyone can be a sponsor. This money pays for school uniforms, school supplies, a school bag and also provides them with medical assistance and monthly groceries.

VFV sponsorship co-ordinator Maria Crisel said that without this financial support it could mean quite literally that the children could not go to school.

Maria said: “The sponsorship programme is very important because the sponsors are the ones who are helping to send the children to school and supporting them to have a great future.”

She continued: “Most of the sponsors are volunteers who have worked with VFV. We ask them to commit to sponsoring the child until high school. If the student shows promise and can continue to study at university we will ask the sponsor if they are willing to continue supporting them. If they are unable to then we will seek sponsorship elsewhere for the child if they are doing well and deserve to finish their studies.”

Students read out their work from a creative writing assignment during a tutorial

However Maria said sponsors do not cover all school costs as VFV believe that some responsibility should stay with the parents so that they do not fully rely on the volunteers. Therefore costs such as enrolment fees and ID fees are still covered by the children’s parents.

The sponsorship co-ordinators at VFV have monthly meetings with the sponsored children’s parents and conduct school and house visits.
“It’s very important that we visit the children at their school. Sometimes we discover that the student has not been attending class. It is very frustrating as the sponsor is working hard to pay towards helping the child attend class,” Maria said.

In this case a child is given a warning in the first instance, if they continue with the behaviour they are told that their sponsorship could be pulled.

VFV has also outlined that sponsored children must also follow a code of conduct. This involves wearing appropriate dress – girls must not wear short shorts and no T-shirts with inappropriate slogans are allowed. Fighting, talking back to staff and bullying are also not tolerated.

Some of the sponsored children with VFV volunteers

And there are a few added extras that some sponsored kids can benefit from. Children around the Bliss community in Tacloban can attend tutorials run by volunteers on weekdays from 5.30-7pm. The tutorials are designed to help pupils with their studies and give them extra tuition to help them get ahead.

The VFV sponsorship team also organise field trips for sponsored children who have performed well at school to reward them for their hard work. The last excursion was a swimming trip.

To find out more about sponsoring a child visit http://www.visayans.org/sponsor-a-child

*Written by volunteer Michelle Curran, journalist and editor from the UK

Posted in Child Sponsorship, Child Welfare, Donate, Education, News, Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment
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