By Loretta Shea Kline, CFCA communications editor
The Filipino people are known for their resiliency.
I had the great privilege of visiting the Philippines a few weeks ago as part of my work as an editor and writer on our communications team.
I saw that resiliency up close on visits to our projects, and I was reminded of it again when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit.
An email from our project coordinator in Zamboanga, I thought, spoke to the Filipino character. The Filipinos not only deal with natural catastrophes such as typhoons and earthquakes, they have an armed conflict to contend with in the southern Philippines.
Our coordinator, Rhodora Partosa, talked about how families displaced by the conflict in Zamboanga put aside their own needs to show concern for typhoon victims in other regions.
“Last Friday, I was able to talk to 18 families out of 23 affected by the [armed] standoff who lost their houses,” she wrote. “There is still a tremendous faith, courage and a positive outlook on life amidst this difficulty.
“I think this is one of the Filipinos’ best [examples of] ‘resiliency.’ They’ve shared not much of the past but on how they look forward to the future.
“And they think and prayed about the people who were affected by the earthquake and typhoon. They said they are blessed that they only lost their houses and not their loved ones.
“It’s inspiring to hear them remain hopeful for a better future.”
Thankfully, sponsored friends and their families in our five projects in the Philippines are safe after the typhoon.
There will be work ahead to rebuild houses and livelihoods, and we will be there to support the families.
We have a Disaster Assistance Fund to help in emergencies, and our projects in the Philippines have calamity funds as well. The island nation is hit by 20 or more typhoons a year.
The Philippines names typhoons alphabetically. Haiyan was named Yolanda in the Philippines, meaning it was the 25th typhoon to hit the country this year.
During my two-week stay in the Philippines, there were two typhoons, a devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake and the fighting in Zamboanga between rebel factions and government troops.
I remember thinking while reporting on these events, “I don’t know how the Filipinos bounce back from tragedy after tragedy with such grace and optimism.”
I’ll never fully understand it, but I think it has to do with faith, family and hope. Sponsors can have a lot of impact on the latter.
The best thing people can do to help through our organization is to sponsor a child or elderly person in the Philippines.
Sponsorship links your sponsored friend and family to a caring network that provides ongoing help for education, livelihood support, health needs and much more.
Most importantly, sponsors can impact the hope factor. Sponsoring a child or older adult says to that person, “I believe in you.”
And that can be a powerful motivator to someone striving to overcome poverty and tragedies such as Super Typhoon Haiyan.