On June 10, tropical depression Domeng developed into a typhoon as it approached the Philippines. While the most destructive parts of the storm have moved beyond the Philippine islands, the storm was followed by monsoon rains, which have the capability to cause severe flooding and landslides. Roads in some areas of the northern Philippines were impassable, and the mobility of families served by Unbound’s Legazpi program and areas of the Antipolo program has been impacted by the flooding. In times of natural disasters and other emergencies, Unbound will notify sponsors directly if we learn that their sponsored friends have been injured or otherwise seriously affected. We will continue to provide updates on the situation as we receive information from the Philippines. Unbound serves more than 46,000 children, youth and elders in the Philippines.
On Wednesday, the Mayon Volcano on the island of Luzon in the Philippines continued to spew lava and ash, signifying that a major eruption may be imminent.
“Almost every five hours, Mayon Volcano is erupting with lava fountains and spewing mushroom-like ashes,” said Unbound staff member Klaire Perez. “The ashes are being carried by the wind to the southern part of Albay [province]. Yesterday, I was home and I had experience of one of the worst ashfalls. It suddenly went dark and it literally started raining ashes. It’s a bit scary, but it’s more scary for communities just below Mayon Volcano.”
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has set the threat level at 4, the second highest, and more than 56,000 people living in the area have now been evacuated, according to news reports. As of Friday, the evacuees included at least 193 families served by Unbound’s program in Legazpi, coordinator Angie Bermas said. But with the widening of the evacuation zone to a 5-mile radius over the weekend, the number has likely increased.
The volcano is in the Albay province in the Bicol region, in the east-central part of the island. Flights in and out of Legazpi have been canceled, and schools throughout the province are closed.
The impact of sponsorship ripples beyond just a monthly monetary transaction from sponsors to sponsored friends.
A group of 36 sponsored families from Isabela, located in the northeastern-most part of the Philippines, has banded together to create a fertilizer cooperative. They sell the fertilizer to generate income as they challenge poverty daily.
They began the cooperative in August 2015 with less than $40 of capital. That was all they needed to start the process of mixing all the right materials to create an affordable fertilizer they could sell to the many farmers in their community.
The sponsored families decided to create a fertilizer cooperative because Isabela is one of the country’s major crop producing areas for foods like rice and corn.
As we reported in 2015, our program in Antipolo, Philippines, built a new office space and community center. The building project was a community effort, with fathers of sponsored children employed as construction workers, along with others from the local community, and several Antipolo alumni lent their expertise to the project.
The Unbound community in Antipolo recently held a celebration to bless the new building. Father Richard Magararu officiated the blessing, and several members from the community also offered their own prayers in Tagalog, the language spoken by many Filipinos.
Here are their prayers, along with an English translation.
By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound
I witnessed generosity in abundance while in the Philippines for Pope Francis’ mid-January visit.
It was the kind of generosity in which people give, not from excess, but of themselves.
Pope Francis went to Tacloban to be with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan as another storm approached. I heard more than one person say how the gift of his presence gave them courage to face trials in their lives.
“He is one of us,” they said.
When you were a kid, how far did you travel to get to school? Perhaps you walked a few blocks, rode your bike or went to the end of your street to wait for a school bus. Sponsored friends Mary Rose and Jovelyn live in a rural part of the Philippines. The girls and their classmate walk 3 kilometers to school each day. That’s a bit less than 2 miles. While the distance isn’t far, the path they travel has some unique obstacles.
The CFCA community is there for families before and after natural disasters strike.
Sponsorship brings families into a caring community that supports them in their daily lives and in times of crisis.
Hundreds of CFCA families saw their houses damaged or destroyed as Super Typhoon Haiyan slashed its way through the central Philippines less than two weeks ago. Farmers lost crops and fishermen lost fishing gear.
CFCA will work side by side with families as they rebuild their homes and livelihoods. Donations to our Disaster Assistance Fund will help in this effort.
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.