Around this time last year, just days after Yolanda hit, I flew to Daanbantayan in Cebu with Patrick and our friend Paolo to do what we can for the people affected by Yolanda. To be honest, we really couldn’t do much and the help we offered was quite minuscule compared to the other volunteers and aid workers BUT that trip with Oxfam changed my life forever. I remember flying home with Pat and Pao just feeling like completely different people–changed for the better of course because of what we’ve seen, the people we encountered, and the reality we were faced with. The boys shot a brief documentary while we were there, you can watch it HERE.
“Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organisations networked together in more than 94 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty. The name “Oxfam” comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942. The group campaigned for food supplies to be sent through an allied naval blockade to starving women and children in enemy-occupied Greece during the Second World War. Since then, as well as becoming a world leader in the delivery of emergency relief, Oxfam implements long-term development programs in vulnerable communities. We support the campaigns of civil society to fix the global food system, end unfair trade rules, and to combat climate change.” See more at: http://www.oxfamblogs.org/philippines
Last week, Pat and I flew back to Visayas, this time to Leyte and regrouped with our Oxfam family once again. Although the main cities seem are slowly finding a semblance of normalcy, with businesses and industries running, the downtown areas bustling with cars and tricycles, and houses slowly being rebuilt—there are still so many people who remain jobless, homeless/displaced, and sometimes hopeless. After one year, indeed A LOT has been done to better the lives of those affected by Yolanda, but there are still a ton of things that need to be addressed. Thank God for the foreign and local aid organizations who are continuously working together to get the Yolanda hit regions back on their feet. With your help we can challenge the government to move– please visit this website to discover how you can be a voice for the #GALAWGALAW movement that will affect thousands of lives!
During our 2 day visit, we had the wonderful privilege of meeting some of the communities that Oxfam has helped in the region—from students and families in Tacloban to coconut farmers and fisherfolk from neighboring towns and also the carpenters/volunteers of the Shelter Assistance Self-Recovery Program. There are over 800,000 people who have been directly and positively affected by the hard work of Oxfam sa Pilipinas and the numbers keep growing as we speak. Thank you so much to all the Oxfam social aid workers, volunteers, researchers, etc who have dedicated their valuable time, energy, and resources to the betterment of the lives our countrymen.