Manila was dark, tress swayed violently as the rain fell. It was adverse, but nothing that prepared us for what was happening in Eastern Visayas. The destruction Haiyan left behind was horrific; over 7,000 deaths, 16 million affected and over 1 million houses destroyed.
Today, over 5,000 families who lost homes still wait to be rehoused and replaced. As Jack Sim would say, ‘bureaucrazy’!
On Nov 8th 2013, FundLife did not exist. We were nothing but a vision to champion greater opportunities and education for the hundreds of thousand children living in the slums of Manila.
Nov 8th changed everything. We suddenly became naïve experts.
For a brief moment, as is true for any global calamity, the world cared. For a moment, the suffering of the poor was heard and their lives suddenly mattered.
And the world responded – Tacloban and other areas affected by Haiyan were given unprecedented financial aid. All too often, this aid never reached the communities, never gave agency to those who continue to rebuild their own lives. Never offered anything more then brief respite.
5 years on, long after the media and the international NGO’s left, FundLife is still in those very communities. We have seen what is possible when we invest in children, in communities, in educational opportunity. When we remove politics.
We hope that we are able to learn from the devastation of Haiyan, and ensure we do better. We must change the way we respond and how we account for aid.
When we do this, stories like Patty’s and Coach Reuben won’t just be the exception, they will be the norm. Journeys like those of JP, Jhean and Rhobs, won’t just inspire them to believe, but cultivate withinentire communities that change is real. It starts with a kick.
When we learn how to give agency, local organisations far better than FundLife can change the entire landscape of their communities. But they need opportunity – not aid.
Five years after we started; our work is just beginning. Dreams are just starting to be cultivated – and these dreamers are no longer just the dreams of Haiyan Survivors – they are the dreams of the forgotten;
The forgotten children of Manila, who we forgot on Nov 8th 2013. Who today still survive in slums, while we dine in decadence and drive in European sports cars that falter on decaying roads. The paradox is as depressing as it is funny.
Today we remember – not only those who lost so much five years ago, but also those who continue suffer every single day as we idle by.
But more than remember, we must act – if we do not, who will.
Yours in Colour,
Commemoration of 5th Anniversary of Haiyan
A few highlights of what we have been doing:
FundLife partners with Giuseppe Football Club in
further promoting football and futsal among girls in Cebu City.
FundLife collaborated with Genesis Project to support
peace building and inclusivity through sports in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
FFLA Coach Rhobs shares her experience as a
co-facilitator for Coaches Across Continents Training workshop
at Sagay City.