VFV volunteers come to the Philippines to help communities in need but they go home having enjoyed a personal transformation too.
For UK volunteer Lizzie Schofield, the two weeks she spent working on VFV’s nutrition project: “changed my life.”
“On my way home I felt guilty that I was looking forward to a hot shower, a comfy bed and a hug from my Dad at the airport because these are things some people in Tacloban may never have,” said the 26-year-old from Leeds.
“Knowing the heartache these people have been through and yet they bravely get on with life with a smile and a cheery ‘hello’ has inspired me tremendously.”
Lizzie was so affected by her time with VFV she started a campaign to bring the local children’s favourite band, UK pop group One Direction, to Tacloban City.
“One Direction are visiting the Philippines on tour next year — they will be in Manila in March,” said Lizzie.
“My goal is to encourage the band to visit the children in Tacloban and make Yolanda seem a distant memory, even if only for a few hours.”
A touching moment with the local children sparked the idea for the ambitious campaign.
“My fondest memory is when the children asked me what songs I knew and if I could sing to them — the first song that came to mind was One Direction,” recalled Lizzie.
“As I started to sing the chorus of What Makes You Beautiful they all joined in and I realised they knew the words better than I did.
“One of the children was quick to pull out an old, battered Nokia phone with only a few songs on it.
“He played the song as loud as it would go and more than 20 children crowded around the tiny speakers giggling, singing and dancing with all their might.
“Watching this sent tingles down my spine and still brings a tear to my eye.”
The Facebook campaign, which has topped 1000 likes in less than two weeks, calls on people all over the world to upload a ‘selfie’ urging the band to visit Tacloban.
“If every one of these people encourages 10 people to like the page, that’s 10,000 already,” said Lizzie.
“I urge everyone who reads this to like the Facebook page One Direction to Tacloban, upload a photo, and give the band and their management a message they can’t ignore!”
*Written by volunteer Emma Bailie, journalist from Australia