Female Activists Bringing Hope To Haiyan Typhoon Victims

Bundles-of-joy

The new of the Haiyan Typhoon hitting the Philippines rang loud across the world, as it is the most intense tropical cyclone recorded in history to ever hit land. It’s impact has affected nine million people, leaving over 600,000 homeless. It is a desperate situation, and native Philippino’s have been crying out for help from the rest of the world.

With a population of over 85 million, spread over 7,100 islands, there are a lot of areas which have not yet been reached by aid relief programs and organizations. However, thanks to the courage and determination of three young female activists, there are people willing to do something about these dire statistics without just relying on “the others” to do the work.

Esperanza Garcia, born in Cebu, Philippines who is a graduate of Columbia University’s Sustainability Management Program, along with two friends Anna Oposa and Anya Lim created ‘Bundles Of Joy and Letters of Hope‘. It is a unique aid relief that targets the remote areas, and each bundle contains food, water, clothing, and a flashlight. The unique part is that every bundle they distribute, which is made possible by donations worldwide, contains a personal letter from a person who donated money giving them hope and sharing in their grief.

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Esperanza who is U.S-based is a co-founder of the Philippine Youth Climate Movement and International Youth Council. Anna is the co-founder of Save Philippine Seas and is based on-site in the Philippines with Anya, who has worked for UNICEF Philippines and World Vision, and is the brainchild behind Bundles of Joy.

These three young women joined forces and took action the day after the typhoon and used the power of social media to harness the attention of people elsewhere in the world who were looking for a way to help out. Thanks to their facebook page and donations from many people, they were able to package together 600 Bundles of Joy in 48 hours!

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The reason they wanted to include letters of support from people was because they didn’t want lack of money to be a reason for some not to be able to help out.

“The idea is that if someone in the Philippines reads a letter from someone in Australia saying ‘We’re here for you and we care’ we can instill a hopeful vigor, especially from young people who can’t provide monetary support but want to contribute,” Garcia told Elle Magazine.

“It’s not just homes that were destroyed—spirits were too. Words of encouragement are so important, and all the relief efforts seem to be forgetting it.”

Bundles-of-joy

Esperanza, having a background in sustainable solutions goes on to say how important it is not just to help out with immediate relief response, but understand that the Philippines is the the number one country in the world who has the most deaths annually through natural disasters which means there has to be long-term solutions.

“My personal advocacy will be to rebuild the school and undertake efforts to rebuild their spirits as well, through art workshops and livelihood programs.”

“[We need to] build resilient schools because they have been used as emergency shelters, but have also become a place for children to become educated,” she said.

Some of their Australian volunteers have taken advantage of social media in this situation and created an initiative called ‘Lines of Hope’. They are encouraging everyone to take selfies, but for a cause. On your picture, use the hashtags #PHyouarenotalone, #linesofhope, and #ReliefPHbundlesofjoy to raise awareness and get more people involved in these relief efforts in any way possible.

If this story serves as any inspiration to all of us, it’s that there is no excuse for us not to help out when our fellow humans are in need around the world. We don’t have to have a lot of money, we just have to be willing. Thanks to powerful communication tools like Social Media, we are the ability to share news, raise awareness and create movements that have a lasting impact and ensure change.

Bundles-of-joy

2 Comments

  1. What an awesome thing for them to do. The younger generation knows how to get the word out, and how to organize the help that’s needed. So proud of these young women.

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