Guest Contributor at SAIS Nanjing
In the wake of Typhoon Yolanda, I checked the news every hour to make sure the storm was not going to hit the northern part of the Philippines. My mother’s family is based in Manila, and even though the Philippines has seen many typhoons and other natural disasters, this storm was said to be really devastating.
Though my whole family was safe and unaffected by the storm, I stumbled upon a Facebook status by a family friend named Janet, about how she could not reach her paternal relatives who live in the Visayas, in the south. She is based in Tokyo and almost immediately started fundraising money through her son’s school for the typhoon once it hit. Reading this really struck me because it made me think about how I could have been in that situation. How terrifying would it be if you could not contact your relatives to find out if they were safe?
I messaged her that day and said I wanted to raise money in my school and I asked which charity I should donate the money to. In her reply, she seemed pretty distressed by the situation but she said that I must be very careful since corruption is rampant in the Philippines. My mother said the same thing but after hearing about Janet, she encouraged me to ask for relief efforts while the typhoon was on the news and on everyone’s minds. The next day, I made a box, started sending out emails, and made an announcement in one class about the fundraising efforts.
Initially, I set out to raise 600 RMB, but many professors and students were so generous that I realized I could potentially raise 1,000 RMB ($164) by the end of the week. Several days later, the student council contacted me about donating some of the funds from a Happy Hour event to the relief efforts. By the end of the week, we raised more than the target goal of 1,100 RMB ($180). Additionally, some students still want to donate money so I predict that we will be able to donate about $200 to relief efforts.
Because the transparency of donations is an issue, I have decided to donate the funds to a family friend’s high school class, a group that is trying to fundraise enough money to charter a plane down to a town called Albuer, Leyte that was severely affected by Yolanda. The group is currently fundraising money for supplies, volunteers, and the plane itself, and we will be sending money to them via PayPal. My contact, Judy, has promised to document all the receipts for goods paid for from HNC donations so that the turnover of money will be transparent.
I am truly moved by all of the efforts of my classmates, peers, instructors, and administrators at the HNC. I know that the amount of money raised will make a difference, no matter if it seems big or small, because the typhoon victims really need any help they can possibly get right now. I also think that donating the money to a smaller group for a specific town will help to spread the flow of resources. Thank you to everyone at the HNC who has supported this very important cause!
For information about donating, contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read SAIS Nanjing staff writer Tong Zhichao’s article discussing global redistribution.