Picture by Joseph A Ferris III
Hi there, people!
I just came back from twelve days in the Philippines, to volunteer on the beautiful island of Bantayan by rebuilding a high school there.
This has been one of the most interesting, fun, sociable and touching experiences that I’ve done in my life!
I’ve been enrolled with Young Pioneer Tours, a China-based tour company who mainly arranges trips to North Korea. Some of the YPT tour guides launched this project, as individuals and not in the name of the company, to find people able to help rebuilding schools there. We’re not speaking about an NGO or a big organization here.
In a few weeks only, the Young Pioneer Disaster Relief team is totally functional, running on the ground, with approximately 50 volunteers coming to help during a 2 months period, and 11’000 USD out of a 30K goal raised to cover the costs of tools, materials, and other stuff used to achieve our goal to rebuild as many schools as possible.
To express how fast and organized this team currently is, the YPDR team received the full responsability of an island close to Bantayan, destroyed at 95% after the super typhoon Yolanda, on the fifth day of our presence on the island.
Local people though, as islanders, know how to keep the smile whatever happened. They are helping each other, and even in a home without a roof, they continue to enjoy life as if nothing happened. The only time I saw the trauma caused by the typhoon was when it suddenly started to rain one day – everybody was running in the streets to find the nearest home who can protect them, thinking that another typhoon might come at any time from now.
Our goal is not only to put new roofs on the destroyed ones, but to create sustainable buildings who can resists to other typhoons. Solutions are on the way, with “boxes” kind of house and green energy.
The main point of embarkation, Santa Fe, is obviously not as impressive as what you could see on the medias. Yes, a lot of buildings are totally destroyed and there is a lot of debris on the road and yes, the whole town except a few bars and houses doesn’t have any electricity; the locals have to go directly at the remains of the electric central building who offers sockets to plug their phones.
The main point is that even with all this events, the island stay mostly safe for travelers and beaches are still amazing. Now is the time where the Bantayan people need us to go there and help the economy – even a few days for a few beers would help to put some smile on their budget sheets, as well as offering you a life-changing experience.
As mentioned above, the Young Pioneer Disaster Relief still need funds in order to continue to rebuild the schools and help these kids who currently spend their whole days doing practically nothing over there.
Please help us!
All the infos on our IndieGoGo page.