In November 2013, the Philippines faced a deadly natural disaster, as super storm Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) swept a path of devastation through the lives of over 16 million people. Embracing the World quickly responded with a disaster relief aid package to assist the victims. In collaboration with the Philippines Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), we have made children’s welfare, safety, and education our top priorities.
Several initiatives are underway including creating sustainable development programs, rebuilding schools, renovating destroyed classrooms, building typhoon shelters for communities, and enhancing disaster preparedness and responsiveness in schools. In order to create the greatest impact, our outreach efforts are not limited to one area, but are occurring throughout 6 major provinces in the Philippines.
Recently, Brahmachari Shantamrita Chaitanya and Professor R. Bhavani, Director of AMMACHI Labs, Amrita University, visited the Tacloban and Masbate regions of the Philippines to conduct needs assessments, streamline efforts, and connect with key facilitators.
The Masbate province of the Philippines was also hit by the typhoon. The remote region, although rich in natural resources, has limited infrastructure. Climate change has made the area more prone to natural disasters and disrupted fishing patterns. Br. Shantamrita was very moved by the resilience of the people. “The Philippines is blessed with natural resources, faith and optimism. The country has a bright future ahead of it.”
The Philippines has adopted the disaster management principles of “Building Back Better”, focusing on building more resilient, capable communities and infrastructures than before. We are proud to help support the Philippines in achieving these goals in a timely manner.
Br. Shantamrita and Professor Bhavani also visited the Manlilisid National High School in Javier Town, Leyte Province. Br. Shantamrita was impressed by the students’ enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. “When we asked the students what they want to be when they grew up, the majority wanted to be teachers. They showed a deep value and respect for education and must have been very inspired by some good teachers. What better way to support their dream than to invest in bettering their educational infrastructure for their future.” The children were grateful and each one wrote a thank you letter for Amma. They even choreographed a dance and performance in her honor. Even though they had never met Amma, the students were touched by her concern for their welfare.
“There’s such a positive and virtuous spirit here,” Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya stated. “This is an amazing opportunity for us to serve humanity and experience the goodness in people.”