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From the Field

Filling the gaps for Yolanda victims

New Kawayan transitional shelter

VFV has brought water filtration systems and hygiene kits to more than 200 families living in transitional shelters in Santo Niño and New Kawayan.

Thanks to a partnership with Wine to Water — a non-profit aid organization from the USA — families displaced by Yolanda no longer worry about access to safe drinking water or hygiene products.

The relief initiative sprung from VFV’s desire to fill the gaps left by government and international NGOs.

“We did profiling within the camps to make sure services were delivered effectively,” said VFV Director of Operations Helena Claire A. Canayong.

Shelter resident Algina Lacaba does her laundry

“We saw clean water as a major issue and we discovered the community was getting sick because they didn’t have the money to keep their households clean.

“They were already receiving food but they were struggling with hygiene.”

To minimize illness families were supplied hygiene kits that included soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

“The water filtration demonstrations have also been very important,” explained VFV Assistant Community Program Coordinator John Balanlay.

“If they understand how to use them and look after them they could have ten year’s worth of safe drinking water.

Algina, her husband and son stand outside their temporary home

“This is improving the community’s health, especially the children who were getting sick from drinking unclean water.”

Algina Lacaba, who lives in a New Kawayan transitional shelter with her husband, three children, niece and mother, said the relief goods have eased their struggle.

“We are so thankful for the filter and hygiene kits because we have saved money buying mineral water and soaps,” she said.

“We are trying our best to recover but there is less and less help now so it is very difficult for us — it is good to see VFV here.”

Would you like to help VFV with their crucial community profiling work? Click here to learn more about volunteering with VFV!

Click here to learn more about the game-changing work of Wine to Water!

*Written by volunteer Emma Bailie, journalist from Australia

 

Posted in Child Welfare, Disaster Relief, News, Public Health, Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment

Better days ahead for rural school

Tugop Elementary School, Tanauan

The teachers and students of remote Tugop Elementary School will receive a year’s worth of teaching supplies and educational materials plus some new equipment thanks to VFV’s Adopt-A-School program.

A group of donors in Australia have adopted the tiny Tanauan school which lost all of its resources in Typhoon Yolanda.

Lita Indic, who teaches grades five and six in the same classroom, has worked at the school for 17 years. She said the pupils’ education has suffered since the storm.

“After the typhoon we had no teaching materials; we had nothing left,” said Indic.

“It has been very difficult because the pupils struggle to retain information from listening alone.”

Desperate for a teaching tool other than their own voices, the Tugop teachers held on to a stack of books washed up after the storm.

Rotting books: the only remaining resource for Tugop teachers

“The books are a mess ­— they smell terrible and the pages are stuck together — but we cannot throw them away because they are all that we have,” said Indic.

“All this time we have been waiting for our assistance from the Department of Education but nobody is coming.”

Donor Ron Bailie said it is important to focus on helping schools get back on their feet post-Yolanda.

“These children will build their community’s future so it is imperative we give them the tools to enable them to be their best,” he said.

The first load of supplies, including pencils, paper, books and chalk, will reach the school’s 202 pupils next week.

“This is very good news for the teachers and the students,” said Indic.

“It will be a great help because the pupils will be interested and motivated to come to school.”

The donor group will also fund the purchase of a television and DVD player for science lessons.

Would you like to help an underfunded rural school get back on its feet? Click here to find out more about VFV’s Adopt-A-School Project!

*Written by volunteer Emma Bailie, journalist from Australia

 

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

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!

*Written by volunteer Emma Bailie, journalist from Australia

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