Help Families Recover from Typhoon Haiyan

by International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)
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We've been repairing a daycare in rural Leyte

Thanks to your fantastic support we’re continuing our vital work helping families recover from typhoon Haiyan.

In our previous report we described how our local Project Manager Siggy had been working with some of our amazing local partners in Tacloban. But while we love these partnerships, we’ve also been getting a bit restless to undertake more construction projects in some of the still under-served rural areas outside of the city.

Siggy explained the needs to us as follows:

In the months of March to April I have been roaming around the region to see the updates of the rehabilitation on the affected community especially into the higher lands.

What I have seen makes me sad.

It has been over two years since typhoon haiyan pounded Visayas, but some areas in Leyte received less help. In general all the urban area were given Aid from different NGO’s and the National Government, but some of the rural barangay still had to suffer.

According to one local official they often apply for aid, but to be able to become beneficiary [it seems like] they have to win the raffle. The most who benefited are the community found in main town, much less in the interior/highlands community.

While scouting these rural areas Siggy came across many communities that still need help to recover from the typhoon. One of these was Matin-ao, which is in the municipality of Burauen, southwest of Tacloban, in the province of Leyte.

Their daycare centre was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan - it completely lost its roof, as well as all of its education materials and furniture. But the community's remote location meant they'd sadly received little help before our arrival.

Most of Matin-ao’s residents are poor, and struggle to survive by farming coconuts and root crops. And the ongoing loss of their daycare meant that local children were being further disadvantaged from a young age, by missing vital opportunities for play and early learning.

Because of all this we were really keen to help.  And thanks to some amazing donations received earlier in the year, we were able to make an immediate start and impact.

We’ve replaced the lost roof, and also all the doors and windows to make the building watertight again. We’ve also repainted the centre, and both repaired and provided new furniture.

The newly refurbished daycare is already looking amazing. But we’d also like to provide toys and learning materials if we can. If you’re interested in supporting this additional work at Matin-ao daycare, then please also see our education specific Haiyan project on GlobalGiving.

In future months we’ll be considering folding this general project into that specific one.  So, now’s also a great time in general to check out our education project.

In all cases, thank you so much for all you’ve done to help families recover from typhoon Haiyan. If we do decide to combine our projects, we’ll send further updates before doing so.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

For more updates about our work please like us on Facebook or follow IDVExec on Twitter. You can also email Andy is you would like to be added to our direct mailing list.

Also note that IDV is now also fundraising on GlobalGiving to increase its overall capacity to help disaster survivors. This is a great way to get involved with our other work around the world.

The daycare was in a sorry state when we found it
The daycare was in a sorry state when we found it
Up goes the new roof
Up goes the new roof
The daycare centre is transformed
The daycare centre is transformed
Siggy making goals for kids
Siggy making goals for kids' sports activities

Thanks to your fantastic support we’re continuing our work supporting long-term recovery from typhoon Haiyan.

In our last project report we introduced you to Siggy, and described his personal journey from typhoon survivor to becoming IDV’s local Project Manager in Tacloban.   

Over the last few months Siggy’s been continuing to partner with other local organisations, and for this report we asked him to provide an update about this work in his own words.

He first said this about working with Football for Life (a programme of FundLife International).

Football for Life (F4L) aims to restore childhood to children through psychosocial support in the affected areas hit by the Typhoon Haiyan. Through organised sports and play activities F4L helps children by restoring normalcy, [providing] hope, build resilience, and increase morale.

With nine different location of all over Tacloban city, one of their challenge is how to bring the coaches with the equipment to their respected area.

So Marko, founder [& Programme Director] of F4L, he made a communication to me requesting a support in transporting the coaches to the sites. With the approval granted, F4L were able to use one of the vehicles owned by IDV. For this simple help we made more or less 900 kids to smile and give new hope through Sports Therapy.

I also help in fabricating a set of football goal for RTR Plaza as one of their site of training

Siggy then talked about our continued partnership with Volunteer for the Visayans to help typhoon affected schools, this time in the town of Tanuan.

“Tanuan is also another town that was hit by Typhoon Haiyan. Some part of the town was affected by the storm surge, some severely affected by strong wind.

One [affected building] is the elementary school located at Brgy. Talolora in Tanuan, it is located at the interior part of the town with a rough terrain and with distance of 30 km from the city of Tacloban.

Talolora Elementary School caters from grades one to six, and only have three classroom that is functional. So every classroom consist of two grades with one teacher; it is a big challenge for the teachers to teach two different grade at the same time!

For a temporary solution while waiting at the on-going construction of their new school building, Volunteers for Visayas provided the school with thirty new chairs to equip a temporary learning space . To support this project IDV in Tacloban provided transportation to deliver the new chairs for pupils

We delighted that Siggy is able to partner with these great local organisations so that we can support Haiyan recovery together. We’re also delighted that Siggy himself is continuing to grow and beginning to tell his story in his own words.

None of this would be possible with you.  Thank you so much.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

For more updates about our work please like us on Facebook or follow IDVExec on Twitter. You can also email Andy is you would like to be added to our direct mailing list.

 

The coaches being transported across Tacloban
The coaches being transported across Tacloban
Games are enjoyed by girls and boys alike
Games are enjoyed by girls and boys alike
Helping to equip a classroom by delivering chairs
Helping to equip a classroom by delivering chairs
Siggy has been with us since the start in Tacloban
Siggy has been with us since the start in Tacloban

It’s now over two years since typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines affecting over 14 million people in total.

It’s been a tough road at times but Haiyan survivors have been on an incredible journey since the typhoon and many stories of human hope and perseverance have shined through the dark times. For this report we wanted to share one of these amazing stories while also officially introducing you to Siggy, IDV’s Project Manager in Tacloban, for the first time.

Despite this late introduction Siggy’s been an essential part of IDV’s Haiyan response since the beginning. When we first met Siggy he was a typhoon survivor looking to provide for his family following the disaster.

We first hired him as a driver as we assessed the typhoon damage along the coast from Tacloban to Guiuan. Siggy’s skills, integrity and easy going nature soon impressed us and it wasn’t long before we asked for his full-time help.

Siggy soon became a critical part of our overall work. He had many natural talents and, as a very quick learner, he soon picked up more skills.  From driving to translating, through helping to build classrooms and taking amazing photos, we couldn’t find a title for Siggy other than “superstar”.

We asked Siggy to tell his story in his own words and he said this:

“Working in IDV created a big change in my life. After the typhoon haiyan hit my town and [I] survive the tragedy, my biggest fear is how to survive for tomorrow. How will I send my kids back to school? All the structure, machineries collapse and our rice product got wasted due to moisture.  With a remaining debt to pay I become hopeless.  

[But] Thanks to IDV who hired me as driver at first, I was able to feed my family. Working every day have given me a chance to learn new skills, none in my life that I have experience in construction work, I laid my first brick  together with the international volunteer. From that I gain my confidence and managed some project in school repair and rehabilitations.”

Over the months Siggy helped us to not only implement projects, but also to plan and manage them as well.  By early 2015, even though our international managers supported him, Siggy was largely managing projects and other local staff himself.

And Siggy continued to excel and grow more. This was great news for us because we’ve always worked hard to transition our projects to local leadership over time. And as the months passed we realised that Siggy had become ready to take the final step and accept full responsibility for our work in Tacloban.

Here’s what he had to say about the time since.

“When IDV told me that international staff will leave. It scared me when I heard the news. It scared me because I have no experience in office stuff like computer works and I’m afraid in making mistakes in the program.

It was 18 years ago when I last used a computer (windows 95!). Since that I have been working in the farm so gadgets were not updated in my life. Doing the accounts and report was quite a new experience, a task learned in practice and exposure. From the two task, making report was a little bit hard because of my English skills is poor - having a difficulty in expressing the right word to explain is a big challenge.

It take me ages in making the report, but it’s not my biggest concern, it just a matter of learning process. Continuing projects is my biggest focus.

I work with a local NGO in Manila called CANVAS Philippines which provide 1 million books for a million Filipino kids. With CANVAS providing books I was able to deliver into rural area of Leyte that I visited like the Elementary schools and Daycare Centers.

I also work with Balangiga Without Border (BWB) a Local NGO in Samar that also provide books for High School and wheelchairs.”  

Despite his modesty Siggy continues to do an amazing job supporting local NGOs and families affected by Haiyan. He also loves his job and is incredibly grateful to the amazing donors who continue to support IDV’s work in Tacloban.

Siggy summed this up below.

“Even if everything is quite hard at the start, at the end it is becoming [about] more than the pay I have, especially the big smile from the families that I see. A smile that silently saying thank you deep in their heart. It make me comfortable and happy of what I am doing helping community”

We think Siggy’s story is a great example of how the biggest heros are usually survivors themselves. Thank you so much for enabling Siggy and IDV to support over 10,000 of his fellow survivors since Haiyan. As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Siggy has a small stature but a BIG personality
Siggy has a small stature but a BIG personality
Over time Siggy took on more planning and managing
Over time Siggy took on more planning and managing
And Siggy still proudly flies the IDV flag today
And Siggy still proudly flies the IDV flag today
One survivor we helped provide with a wheelchair
One survivor we helped provide with a wheelchair

As an organisation IDV has always firmly believed in the importance of partnering with local people affected by disasters. And, as 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to highlight an example of this in our latest project report.

Over the last few months we’ve been working with an exciting grassroots organisation called Balangiga Without Borders (BWB). In their own words

“BWB was organized one month after Haiyan/Yolanda and is composed of donors and volunteers from around the world with one goal - to secure help for survivors properly with transparency.”

Part of the way BWB achieves this is through extensive use of social media. Their Facebook group has over 3,000 members and the needs of both communities and individual survivors are posted regularly.

Donations are made by the group’s members to meet these needs, and the impacts of the work carried out are then also posted to the group’s page. This creates a simple but effective loop between needs on the ground and willing benefactors who can directly see where their help is going.

However, while BWB has donors and volunteers from around the world some of its most crucial members are the survivor-volunteers in the affected areas. As survivors themselves these volunteers have a deep understanding of who most needs what, where and when.

They are able to effectively help their communities while also helping their own recovery. One of BWB’s founders Elma put it this way when describing the group’s beginning right after the typhoon:

“We had to keep busy to keep from getting DEPRESSED. We realized that SURVIVORS need to help themselves recover emotionally from trauma and shock. So we started VOLUNTEERING"

Over two years later BWB members have not grown weary of their work. But as 75% of its members are survivor-volunteers, resources are always in short supply.

So when BWB recently secured the donation of several wheelchairs for typhoon survivors they needed help transporting them to the various delivery locations. This is where we were able to step in thanks to your amazing support.

Although our international volunteers have now left the affected areas we’re continuing work through our local Project Manager, Siggy, who also looks after our vehicle in Tacloban. When we found out about BWB’s need to deliver the wheelchairs Siggy immediately offered to help.

And on November 29 and December 1 Siggy worked with BWB volunteers to deliver the wheelchairs to survivors in the provinces of Leyte and Eastern Samar. It was a great project to collaborate on and we’re hoping we can work together with BWB more often in the future.

So, as Christmas approaches, and 2015 draws to a close, we hope you’ll please consider donating once again to support the ongoing recovery of survivors from typhoon Haiyan.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

It’s a particularly great time to give because donations to this project are currently being matched by incredible 100% on both the US and UK GlobalGiving websites. This means your gifts will literally go twice as far!

You can also donate as a gift to a loved one and send them a lovely card in the process.

Finally there’s also match funding available for any new recurring donations set up during the month. On the US GlobalGiving site your initial donation will receive a 100% match after four months (a limit of $200 applies).  On the UK site the terms are the same but the matching limit is £100.

 

The "Helen Thompson" truck was used for delivery
The "Helen Thompson" truck was used for delivery
IDV Project Manager Siggy delivered the chairs
IDV Project Manager Siggy delivered the chairs
Until the new year your donations will go further!
Until the new year your donations will go further!
Rose with her new book
Rose with her new book

The last few weeks in Tacloban have seen some exciting developments made possible thanks to your generosity and the continued support of GlobalGiving.

We love GlobalGiving because in addition to connecting us to amazing donors like you, they also connect us to other fantastic grassroots organisations that share our goals and values.

One of these organisations is the Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS). Following an introduction made by GlobalGiving we recently partnered with CANVAS to provide over 300 books to children affected by typhoon Haiyan.

This work is part of a larger undertaking by CANVAS that aims to provide a million books to a million children over the next 5-10 years. In a country where many people are functionally illiterate this program promotes independent reading and creative thinking in Filipino children, while also exposing them to the best of contemporary Filipino art and literature.

This goal is important across the entire Philippines but for kids affected by typhoon Haiyan it’s particularly relevant. Many of the affected areas were already plagued by poverty and in many cases kids had never owned a book, even before the typhoon. Even when children did own books these were largely destroyed by the storm’s heavy rains.

So, when GlobalGiving connected us to CANVAS we knew we wanted to work together to bring the joy of reading to Tacloban and its surrounding communities.

We started by asking our partners at schools and daycare centres to help us identify individual children who would receive books to take home and own themselves.

With our plans prepared we were delighted when 303 beautiful, full-colour books arrived from Manila. Shortly after we began our work distributing the books.

We started in Anibongon which is a small rural community about one hour west of Tacloban. None of the kids there had ever owned a book themselves and they were all incredibly happy to receive the gifts.

One of the kids to receive a book was eleven year old Rose. Rose used to spend a lot of time watching TV but having received a book she now plans to spend more time reading to herself, and to her little brother as well.

After Anibongon we returned to central Tacloban to distribute books through the Aram Learning Studio. The Studio works with kids who have developmental problems and here we provided books to affected children, as well as to their brothers and sisters.

Finally our team travelled to the village of Guintigian which is about one hour north of the city. Having previously repaired the community’s daycare centre we knew that this was a very poor area and that the kids had no access to books at all.

The three book giving events were all a great success and we’re incredibly grateful to CANVAS for supplying us with the materials. However, it was your own generous support that enabled us to transport the books to Tacloban and then into the surrounding communities. Thanks so much for helping us bring the joy of reading to over 300 kids!

As always, if you ever have any questions about how we’re using your donation, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Grandeur is delighted with his copy
Grandeur is delighted with his copy
The Guintigian kids say thank you!
The Guintigian kids say thank you!
 

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Organization Information

International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)

Location: Bristol, Somerset - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.idvolunteers.org
Project Leader:
Andy Chaggar
Bristol, Somerset United Kingdom

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