Over the past month since Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) we have received an outpouring of generosity and support from individuals and organizations from around the world. We are blown away by the response of so many, and incredibly grateful to receive help during such a difficult time for our entire island. Our communities have been devastated, many lives have been lost in our cities and towns, but our hope for a better future has not been diminished thanks to your support. It is your thoughts, donations, prayers, volunteer hours, fundraising, and relief that helps us survive each week and maintain optimism for the future. We are commited to helping rebuild not only homes, but more importantly lives.
Many of our supporters are former VFV volunteers, who have come up with varying creative ways to support relief efforts. We are amazed at their efforts, and we’d like to share and recognize some of them here.
Alison Oatey Organized a “Philippines Day” at her School
Alison Oatey volunteered with VFV several times after first visiting in 2007. She is now a primary school teacher at Thrussington Primary in Leicestershire, UK, where she recently organized a “Philippines Day” to help raise funds to replace the Bliss Community Center’s roof. Here is Alison’s description of the day:
“We started the day with a presentation to children, parents and staff, talking about VFV’s work, my experiences in Bliss and the effects of the typhoon…with many photos to help me. The children were captivated. We created a giant word saying ‘shelter’ outside in the playground with all the coins the children brought in then we had lots of different activities for the children to take part in. Mine, the youngest class, made flags, collaged Filipino faces, built shelters, did washing in bowls of cold water and built a map of Tacloban City with paper houses, trees, boats, etc. At the end of the day I brought a hairdryer in as the typhoon and blew the paper city down to which there was so much empathy for the destruction, it even made me quite emotional. I made puto for the whole school to taste and taught them some words in Waray Waray with them re-enacting riding a jeepney saying “maupay,” “pasaye,” “alayon,” “para” and “salamat”!! At the end of the day we had a cake stall to raise more funds.”
By the end of the day, Alison and her school raised just over £450, which will help cover the costs of repairing the Bliss Community Center and help VFV rebuild in other ways too. Her story was also published in the Leicester Mercury. We can’t thank Alison and her community enough for their dedication and support!
GoAbroad Staff Creates “Tips for Tacloban”
VFV alumni and GoAbroad.com employee Victoria Mita came up with a very creative way to raise some funds over the Thanksgiving holiday. Here was her message to friends:
“Tonight from 9pm-2am, I’m offering ‘safe rides’ for anyone and their friends, hopping around from house parties to restaurants to bars, in an effort to raise ‘Tips for Tacloban’. A couple weeks back, the area where I spent 2 months in the Philippines, was devastated by the planet’s hugest storm to ever make landfall. I am giving huge thanks this holiday for the lives of my friends in the Philippines and yours. I’ll be out and about offering these ‘Uber-esque’ rides from 9pm-2am tonight complete with mini water bottles and the brilliant musical stylings of Songza available for your listening pleasure.”
Victoria’s “Tips for Tacloban” night raised a little over $200 to help with typhoon relief, and now the idea has transformed into something bigger. GoAbroad.com colleagues Rachael VanDerWerff and Annie Bierbower have now created “Tips for Tacloban” donation jars that will be placed in several local businesses in Northern Colorado, the location of GoAbroad’s Headquarters. It is the hope of all the US GoAbroad Staff that this effort will continue to help raise funds throughout the holiday season.
Traffic Live Fundraising Lunch
Debbie Lawrence, the sister of VFV alumni Katherine Lawrence held a fundraising lunch and cake sale at the Traffic Live offices in London. Debbie shared the details with us:
“I chose VFV, as my sister Katherine Lawrence had volunteered through VFV a couple of years ago and stayed with a Philippine family. After the storm, she was worried sick about the the welfare of the people, as was I, so I decided to do something about it! I organised a lunch & cake sale at my workplace (Sohnar Ltd – software product ‘Traffic Live‘). I managed to convince around 10 people in the office to bake cakes and savoury lunch food. Everyone was very generous in the donations by at least providing £10 each for an ‘all you can eat extravaganza!’. My directors were also very kind to agree to match what I raised too.”
Debbie and her colleagues raised approximately £736 during the event. A big thank you to Debbie, Katherine, and Traffic Live for your support!
We are amazed and very grateful for all the fundraising efforts that are taking place, and would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who are out there right now creating your own way to help. Please feel free to share your efforts in the comments section below so others can be inspired by the incredible things all of you are doing to support VFV.