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Support the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

From the Field

Nursing friends determined to make a difference

Caroline Jacobson, Dede Akuffo Hoven, Doctor Nemia Sangrano, Karianne Jensen, Martha Benedikte Hitland Furre at Dagami RHU

Seven Norwegian undergraduates used their Bachelor of Nursing internship to reach out to disadvantaged communities on the other side of the world by volunteering with VFV.

The Høgskolen Betaniens students have spent a month volunteering at underfunded rural health clinics around Leyte.

The group also used a Facebook campaign to fundraise 350,000 pesos. A portion of the funds were spent on hospital supplies for the clinics they interned at including: bandages, masks, sterilising pads and alcohol, blood sugar testing kits, stethoscopes, vitamins and IV fluids.

“The ladies have been a huge help doing the vital signs — their donation especially will make a big difference to us,” said Midwife Flora-Dima Budoy from Dagami Rural Health Unit where four of the students volunteered.

The remainder of the funds raised were spent on relief goods for families living in the Tagpuro transitional camp. The 86 families were relocated from San Jose — an area totally devastated by Typhoon Yolanda.

Cathrine Marceliussen handing out relief goods at Tagpuro

Each family received a hygiene kit containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soaps and laundry powder — plus a protein-rich food package of canned fish and meats and mung beans.

The friends said providing relief to the traumatised community was the highlight of their volunteer experience.

“It was an amazing experience having the opportunity to help people who have nothing,” said Anne Bakke.

“I felt happiness but it was also very emotional,” said Alette Dale.

“These people were so happy to receive almost nothing — just some shampoo and canned goods!

“I saw one girl jumping on the spot she was so excited.”

“It was overwhelming seeing how grateful they are for things we take for granted,” said Caroline Jacobson.

Happy transitional camp resident receives her bag of goodies

Karianne Jensen said connecting directly to the community of 390 Yolanda survivors was exactly what they had in mind when they decided to take their internship outside of Norway.

“The one thing we set out to do was make a difference and we really felt that we did that in Tagpuro,” she said.

“I felt a lot of joy and very touched by their response — I was also very proud of us for pulling it off!”

Martha Benedikte Hitland Furre, who volunteered at Tacloban City Hospital and Dagami Rural Health Unit said the group has learned some unique skills.

“It’s been a great experience for us professionally,” she said.

“In a foreign country it is important to be able to use non-verbal communication which will be of great use to us when dealing with patients of different cultural backgrounds back home.”

Friends united in a passion for helping communities in need

It seems the friends’ VFV experience has strengthened more than just their nursing skills.

“It has been really fun and it has brought us closer together,” said Dede Akuffo Hoven.

“It is different to going on vacation — here we are together making a difference and in the profession we want to work in for the rest of our lives!”

Are you a group looking to spend your internship changing the lives of people in need? Click here to find out more about volunteering with VFV!


Posted in Medical Clinic Volunteers, News, Public Health, Public Health Volunteers, Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment

New computer lab for remote school

An island education: Planza Elementary

A new computer laboratory is underway at Planza Elementary School thanks to VFV’s Adopt-A-School project.

The remote school situated on a small island in municipality Babatngon, about an hour from Tacloban, was selected for the Adopt-A-School project two years ago.

Multiple international donors adopted the school — funding annual teaching supplies and student materials. A Brazilian volunteer helping VFV distribute the materials was touched by the school’s isolation and donated a photocopying machine.

Teacher and Officer in Charge, Vergeña Ballais has worked at Planza Elementary for seven years. She is dedicated to her little school in the sea, making the gruelling twice-daily trip by jeepney, motorcycle and boat to work.

Vergeña said being selected for the Adopt-A-School project has transformed the school’s ability to educate its 204 students — the children of mostly fishermen and farmers.

Teacher and Officer in Charge, Vergeña Ballais

“It has been so helpful to have the teaching materials and the photocopier has made life so much easier,” said Vergeña.

“Our Department of Education fund was completely taken up by having to photocopy materials in Tacloban — now we can use it for school maintenance and teacher training!

“The pupils’ performance has increased because we are able to keep them interested with instructional materials — we had very little to work with before.”

The E-Lab — donated by UK organisation International Disaster Volunteers — will be installed this week and will supply the pupils with seven new computers.

“With the help of computers it will be much easier for the children to keep up with the national curriculum,” explained Vergeña.

“It also means when they leave the island to get work in the city, they will be computer literate which is so important.

“We are so very proud to be adopted through VFV, we are very thankful also!”

Would you like to make a difference to an underfunded school? Click here to find out more on VFV’s Adopt-A-School project!

*Written by volunteer Emma Bailie, journalist from Australia


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

Helping the youth shine

Jaylito plans to 'make a difference'

Original VFV Boys Club member, Jaylito Gapate is a rising star in his Bliss community and he says he owes it all to his relationship with VFV.

The 24-year-old is realising his passion for building stronger communities now that he is a fully-fledged member of the VFV team.

“It felt very good to be an official employee at VFV — it was easy because I already knew everybody.”

“It is also a relief that I can help to support my family.”

When the VFV centre opened in Bliss in 2005, Jaylito signed up for VFV’s first Boys Club. Boys Club is a community project aimed at steering local boys away from drugs, crime and gang warfare with weekly activities that encourage leadership and responsibility.

“It was a lot of fun — there were about 25 of us and we were all from the same barangay,” recalled Jaylito.

“It was great to travel outside of the barangay and experience new people and places.

“It’s an important project because it helps to shape the local boys into people who are active in and care for their community.”

Seeing promise in Jaylito, VFV Director Helena Claire Canayong nominated him for VFV’s Sponsor A Scholar program — which teams up disadvantaged youths with foreign sponsors for the duration of their college diploma.

Jaylito graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Technology and soon after he was approached with a VFV job offer.

Jaylito relishes the chance to help disadvantaged youths reach their full potential — as VFV did with him.

“I really enjoy the work we do helping communities in need,” said Jaylito.

“I especially like the impact VFV has on a child’s life — our work gives children the opportunity to have a brighter future.”

Would you like to give disadvantaged youths, like Jaylito, the chance to go to college? Click here to find out more about VFV’s Sponsor A Scholar Project!

*Written by volunteer Emma Bailie, journalist from Australia


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