There is a province in China that features green mountains similar to the Lord of the Rings setting. This province in China is also stellar at producing spicy food and dramatic opera. It is one of the largest provinces of China, claiming 187,260 square miles as its own. The province is Sichuan province, directly in the center of China. Three months ago, Sichuan province was hit with an earthquake. This earthquake measured 7.0 on the magnitude scale, and caused 196 people to die and 11,826 to incur severe injuries. 2 million people have been displaced from their homes. This same province also faced a massive earthquake in 2008, an 8.0 magnitude disaster stealing the lives of 69,195 people and causing 18,392 people to go missing.
Friends, you have shown China that each one of these earthquake-affected people is important through your financial gifts to the fund. That’s amazing compassion. When you and your friends and family and dentist and principal and coworkers move money into this fund, GlobalGiving sends it to five highly-vetted organizations on the ground in China, doing disaster relief work. Check out the first updates from three of those organizations to see what they've been doing to rebuild the area.
Mercy Corps and their local partner China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) are reaching even the most remote communities up in the mountains and down in the valleys to assess and respond to their needs, with an initial focus on water and hygiene provisions. People are still living in tents, their homes destroyed. Within disaster relief, there are two distinct stages—response and development. A mere three months since the earthquake have passed and Mercy Corps is preparing already to morph response efforts into development efforts. They have already distributed more than 28,000 hygiene kits that include soap, toothbrushes, diapers, and health care essentials for families. In addition, they have set up day care spots where children can play, freeing up their parents to work on rebuilding homes, businesses, and communities. Finally, child psychosocial programs are helping children and families cope with the stress caused by the earthquake. Since Sichuan province is increasingly earthquake-prone, Mercy Corps is also fueling efforts to help the communities develop early warning systems and have disaster preparedness plans in place.
Xintu Center for Community Health Promotion, S.H:
Dr. Fei Long made a field trip to Ya'an in Sichuan province two months ago and built up a relationship with a local NGO. This is an important step to planning, implement, and evaluation of the Xintu project in Ya'an. Partnering for capacity building of local NGOs on community mobilization and rebuilding, courses and trainings are being developed and funds are being raised. Dr. Fei Long also met a number of local government leaders and NGO volunteers in field. Long term community development is in the future!
Save the Children Federation:
Save the Children got right to work in Sichuan province after the earthquake, with rescue workers trying to pull as many people out of the rubble within the first 72 hours as possible. Staff immediately arranged to go into the field to assess the damage and impact on the most vulnerable children and their families in the worst-affected areas of Ya’an and Lushan in Sichuan. Beyond distributing numerous relief kits, food, medical supplies, and lanterns, Save the Children also was working in a place where roads were blocked, mobile communications poor, mudslides and flash floods emerging from the heavy rain, and chilly nighttime temperatures. All of these elements have combined to greatly increase the need for help. 6 year-old Li Z, along with many other children, benefitted from the Friendly Spaces that Save the Children was opening up where the children could recover, learn, and play.
Thank you so much for your deep support and compassion. Since it has only been a few months since the earthquake, we have much to do and we want you to be included in it! GlobalGivers, you always change the world.
You are powerful. Two years ago in October of 2011, an earthquake rumbled through the city of Van in Turkey. Mangling, crushing, and devouring buildings, bustling life for Van’s people halted. Their homes were gone, university dormitories and libraries leveled, and food and clothing were immediate needs.
With full support, you stepped in.
Consider these words: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” The fervor and kindness with which you gave have helped reorient and change lives faced with disaster. Though you probably didn’t know the faces below personally, you decided that giving was the most natural response. From the hard-earned dollars you have given to charity, a Turkish city has been rebuilt. And so Winston Churchill’s words strike the chord of truth. We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.
This final report for the Turkey Earthquake Relief Fund is to celebrate the unbelievable recovery the city of Van has been making, and to highlight where the current keys of development lie.
Our partner Turkish Philanthropy Funds is on the ground in the city of Van. TPF has tremendously applied themselves to mobilizing about the community and enacting these 12 changemaking projects:
You can see these projects in a beautiful presentation format by clicking to this Prezi website: http://prezi.com/a6lgpjnd_odd/van-earthquake-relief-fund/.
From a call with Senay Ataselim, project leader of Turkish Philanthropy Funds, even more information has been gathered. The government has started a lot of new developments in the city. Because of the earthquake, funds are coming to the city and the rebuilding efforts have made extensive progress. However, needs still exist. A unique result has also surfaced because of the earthquake. In the two years since the natural disaster, usually invisible socio-economic problems have come to light. Previously, one might have heard about them but not really paid attention. The earthquake changed that. Immigration from the southeast has increased the unemployment rate in Van, and families are such that one family represents 10-15 people. Parents have responded by trying to marry off their daughters at a young age in order to help support the family.
Recently, Turkish Philanthropy Funds has committed itself to providing job opportunities to young girls so they can bring the money to their families and not have to be married off so young. Additionally, TPF is supporting workshops for job opportunities and education for the girls. Here, they gain literacy and finish high school so they can go to college. TPF gives scholarships to the girls.
Through the terrible onslaught of the earthquake, Van faced what seemed like an insurmountable process to rebuild themselves. Through you who partnered with GlobalGiving, who partnered with Turkish Philanthropy Funds, who reached the Turkish people, the city is being given new life. No one could have faced this without you. With utmost encouragement and gratitude, thank you!
Katrina & the GlobalGiving team
If you feel curious, open up Turkish Philanthropy Funds’ Annual Report and explore in greater detail the copious ways they have stood by their community and rebuilt it back.
We have so many updates for you! August 2013 is a milestone because it marks one year since the horrible flood coursed through Manila in the Philippines. Effects of it were so widespread that the local and international NGO communities are still investing themselves heavily into these areas. Following the disaster, GlobalGiving immediately created a Philippine Flood Relief Fund and partnered with a carefully selected handful of organizations on the ground. You heard about what happened in the Philippines and refused to watch mothers and babies and families undergo this loss alone. Thank you for taking care of people all around the world! One of our Field team members, Zamil Akhtar, has spent the past couple of months visiting each of the flood-affected areas and doing evaluations of our partner organizations. At the end of each update, he has provided some firsthand eyewitness comments to how the work is going!
Asia America Initiative:
Philippines Secretary of Health Dr. Enrique Ona, MD stated in a letter to Asia America Initiatives that he had heartfelt gratitude for their organization, who is making an immediate difference in the health and lives of Filipino people. Asia America Initiatives used donations from partners to distribute more than $650,000 of medical assistance to thousands of storm and flood victims in Visayas and Mindanao regions. Assisting all age groups from infants to grandparents, the medicines and oral rehydration salts are currently saving the lives of those suffering from high-fever illnesses caused by unclean water supplies and deadly viruses.
Zamil’s Observations: “AAI was one of the most impressive organizations I visited in the Philippines. They have an office in Manila and projects both in Manila and in Mindanao, and work with several local partners. During my office visit, I was impressed with how thoroughly they documented their efforts, with tables and logs of various statistics including how many relief packets they distributed and catalogs of the destruction they witnessed. The team seems dedicated to the work they are doing and have certainly done a lot of good.”
International Disaster Volunteers:
International Disaster Volunteers works so effectively in the Philippines because they partner heavily with a local NGO called Buklod Tao and bring highly qualified individuals from the UK and the West. When the two meet together, great progress is made. Buklod Tao is mainly responsible for the man power behind the projects, from boat building to disaster preparedness to the building of a new evacuation center. EDV help provide the expertise and often some of the funding for these projects.
Zamil’s Updates: “The expertise that EDV provides varies widely. Some of their volunteers are engineers and lawyers who are able to do great things to help the local community with the knowledge that they have. When the local community had to challenge the local government about how the disaster mitigation funds were being used, an EDV volunteer who is a lawyer helped with drafting documents for this cause. An EDV volunteer who is an engineer also helped Buklod Tao design and build a new headquarters for their boat building and sewing facilities.”
EDV and Buklod Tao’s efforts combine to help two-year-old Mae and her mom Melanie, who live in a one room house on the river bank made of tin and plywood. Their home has already been destroyed twice since 2009. She needs you help to ensure she’s safe during floods!
De La Salle University:
Progressive strides of major importance have been made! De La Salle University and the local Filipino government partnered together to conduct a series of orientation trainings on the salient features of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010. The DRRM is a law that helps flood-prone communities create disaster preparedness plans before the disasters occur, an amazing proactive step in saving the lives of so many Filipinos. Orientation training taught local government units on Relief Delivery Operations and Evacuation Management as well.
Another stride De La Salle made was to introduce the concept of food security in Brgy, Bungahan, a small village (or barangay). Working with the Center for Social Concern and Action, they encouraged the local residents to establish a vegetable garden. A tree planting event was also conducted in Brgy. Native tree species were used and planted along critical areas within Brgy to help prevent the effects of flooding, soil erosion and others.
Zamil’s Observations: De La Salle is a devoted team of social workers who exhibited a high degree of professionalism and organization upon my visit. I was impressed with their integration with the communities they help; upon my visits to these communities, it seemed like the COSCA staff were welcomed as if they were community members themselves. Those I spoke with from these vulnerable communities had only praise and gratitude for the work that COSCA does, and because they were told that GlobalGiving helps fund COSCA, this gratitude was extended to me.
Peace Winds America:
Zamil’s Observations: Peace Winds America has fostered a very valuable partnership with the Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC) in the Philippines. They have been around a long time and are well run and effective. Work includes handing out emergency kits and also teaching communities about disaster-resilient farming. Relief packages contain basic foods items which could sustain an average family for one week. It also includes items to help improve the quality of life for the family at the evacuation centers. Rice, beans, fish, soap, blanket, and a mattress are included for the family. Psychosocial support for children is also readily offered.
Disaster relief efforts are divided into two stages: response and development in preparedness. Overall, relief efforts in Manila and surrounding villages have wound down in response and ramped up for preparedness. However, all of the Filipino NGOs agree that this is the hardest to raise money for. For the dangerous flood-prone areas of the Philippines, preparedness includes equipping each village with an evacuation plan. For some, it is to run up the mountain since it is the highest point from the overwhelming water. In other communities, they have focused on building evacuation centers to house 40-50 families. The NGOs have done an amazing job as well with training the people to use their local resources.
The staffers of many of GlobalGiving’s partner organizations are incredibly close to the people that they’re benefiting. The staff lives amongst them. Staff tends to come from the wealthier families, and they are very content to be integrated with the poor and live their lives to serve.
Zamil noticed a unique willingness on behalf of the NGOs to really listen, and not just impose a solution from outside. They worked together with the community in intellectually strategizing, and asked again that they work together in physical execution. For example, the community shared their local knowledge in boat building rather than buying.
As the subject of building boats came up, a new community member emerged with some incredible input. He is a refugee from Mali, and had settled in one of the flood-prone areas around Manila. He came forward in the midst of this collaboration between the NGOs and the community and shared what he had: the knowledge of how to build fiber-glass boats. In most of the Philippines, wood or rubber boats are built, and they are not as good. From a cost standpoint alone, $800 will build a fiber-glass boat versus $1600 for a wood or rubber boat! With new knowledge, now all the people in this community are building fiber-glass boats to prepare for future disasters.
To sum this report up, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” (JFK)
Let’s keep changing the world!