In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, nations all over the world turned their focus to the immense destruction in the Philippines and more importantly to the victims and survivors of the storm. Millions of people helped support relief and recovery efforts in the days, weeks, and months following what has been called the worst storm in history. Nevertheless, Hope for Haiyan is a suprisingly unique group of donors and advocates.
Hope for Haiyan is a youth group made up of students as young as 10 years old who have joined together to make a tangible, meaningful impact on kids in Cangumbang, a rural community greatly destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. Most of them are part-Filipino and all of them have a great desire to help the Filipino people. Their mission is:
To use this blog and social media to raise awareness and funds in order to help kids in the typhoon devastated Filipino village of Cangumbang rebuild their lives and prepare for a better future.
As they blog about their perspectives of the storm’s impact, share resources to those interested in helping with relief efforts, bring awareness to the continuing needs in the area, and inspire other kids to get involved, the Hope for Haiyan team is truly bringing hope to survivors and showing the world that you are never to young to become a philanthropist. They have already raised enough money to provide weekly community feedings at Volunteer for the Visayans Community Center in Cangumbang for a full year, and they are continuing to fundraise every month!
Today we invite you to learn more about the Hope for Haiyan team, called H4H for short.
How did Hope for Haiyan first come together?
“My mother presented the idea of Hope for Haiyan to us fairly soon after the typhoon. I came up with the name.” – Mercedes, Age 15
“At first we thought of buying goods and sending care packages, but as H4H started, it was more than that.” – Natalie, Age 10
How would you describe the H4H team?
“All of us at Hope for Haiyan are friends who want to make a difference! We are all committed to bringing children and families in the Philippines relief services and joy!” – Bella, Age 16
What inspired you to join Hope for Haiyan?
“The thought of making a difference and helping those in need inspired me.” – Natalie, Age 10
“I joined h4h mostly because I wanted to leave a mark on the world. I strongly believe that one person can make a large difference, and being a part of a group of outstanding people my age who believe the same thing is a dream come true for me! Eventually, I hope to venture to the Philippines and see the progress of our work. To meet the people that h4h has been so fortunate to help would be fantastic!” – Bella, Age 16
What was your initial reaction when you heard there was an extremely strong typhoon headed for the Philippines?
“I was stunned. There are no words to describe how surprised I was that something like this could actually happen. I was terrified about if it hit my family, or even anybody else.” – Natalie, Age 10
“My initial reaction was fear, and I wondered whether or not I had any family that would be affected by the typhoon” – Mercedes, Age 15
What is your favorite part about H4H?
“My favorite part is knowing that I am making a difference in people’s lives, and giving others opportunities to do the same.” – Mercedes, Age 15
“It is wonderful assisting a small group of youth here in the U.S. as they learn and share the many joys and gifts that the Filipino culture is all about while they endeavor to
create awareness about the effects of the typhoon.” – Shannon, Adult Volunteer
“My favorite part is getting the news that the money we raised is feeding children.” – Christian, Age 12
How has joining H4H changed the way you think about the world?
“Joining H4H has definitely changed the way I look at the world by seeing that the world is more than just the USA, it’s about other people too. I didn’t realize that such sad things could happen to innocent people.” – Natalie, Age 10
“I definitely think that the world is more globalized. It seems smaller knowing that I can easily contact someone halfway around it.” – Mercedes, Age 15
What do you find interesting about survivors your age?
“I think it is interesting that kids in the Philippines are smiling and happy in such a hard time. They seem to have hope and that inspires me to have hope too. I hope that the Philippines will continue building after the typhoon.” – Dylan, Age 10
How do you inspire others to lend a helping hand or donate to support H4H’s efforts?
“I really promote Hope for Haiyan at school and in my church’s youth group. I’m pretty sure people get annoyed with me at times, but hey, at least they’ll remember the message.” – Mercedes, Age 15
What do you hope H4H’s lasting impact is on the Philippines?
“I think H4H’s lasting impact is that we’re still out there for you, we’re still fighting to help others remember and help.” – Natalie, Age 10
Why do you think other young people like you should participate in fundraising and charitable projects or groups?
“Even if it isn’t this cause, I believe everyone needs to have a cause to support. There’s too much hardship in the world to simply ignore all of it. If you don’t give back, you are definitely not fulfilling your potential, as well as neglecting your social responsibility.” – Mercedes, Age 15
“Helping/participating is a good way to help and provide for causes. It gives you a good way of thinking about the world and how it could always use more help.” – Christian, Age 12
How important is helping others in your daily life?
“Helping others is very important in my daily life. If there’s something I can do to help another person in my life, who am I to say no? I have no reason to deny them aid. Plus, what if I were the one asking for help?” – Mercedes, Age 15
Do you ever think about volunteering in the Philippines when you are older?
“I think about volunteering there every day. In the future, I hope to travel the world, and the Philippines is definitely on my list.” – Mercedes, Age 15
How can other young people around the United States create a group like yours and help support projects around the world?
“It’s easy, find something that you’re very passionate about, find out what you can do to help, and ask a parent to help start a group with others that feel the same way.” – Natalia, Age 10
“Find a problem that you are passionate about and use your creativity to find new ways to solve the problem.” – Christian, Age 12
What does it take to be an H4H Team Member?
“You have to be determined, and ready to take action to do whatever it takes to save the Philippines, but you also have to be kind-hearted, and really care about the Philippines and want to help them.” – Natalie, Age 10
What makes H4H special?
“Club H4H is fortunate to have been inspired and created by a Filipina who immigrated
to the U.S. who also has a knack for U.S. culture and business AND is fearless in spreading her love for her native Filipino culture! The club is also lucky and successful due to the direct connection to the small shelter in Tacloban. I believe the authentic and intimate connections have been key to the youth club really carving out a niche for themselves.” – Shannon, Adult Volunteer
How have your parents reacted to your participation in H4H?
“I think my parents are very proud of me. I know that they’re glad I’m helping out with the Philippines and maybe a little shocked at how much I care about H4H.” – Natalie, Age 10
Anything you’d like to share with the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan?
“We’re here for you, and we won’t give up on you.” – Mercedes, Age 15
“Spend each day praying and praying, and don’t give up on us, cause we’re still here fighting for you and trying to raise awareness about how much this impacted you guys.” – Natalie, Age 10
“Let’s keep praying for one another. Tell others about the Hope for Haiyan Team so we can connect our efforts. We’re here for the long run. So let’s do our part together, and see what great things we can do when we take one bright step at a time for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.” – Melissa, Adult Volunteer
To learn more about the Hope for Haiyan group or get involved in their cause, visit their website: http://hopeforhaiyan.com
To help provide continued support to families affected, Take the GoAbroad Foundation Pledge.