Panay Island in Iloilo was one of the provinces greatly devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda) in November 2013. Lives were lost, homes were uprooted and livelihood was destroyed. At this time of despair, people can’t help but live in doubt and wallow in misery.
However, there is a saying, “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.” It is a driving force that would help people rebuild their lives with a positive attitude and a joyful disposition. Yes, that is what the people in Panay Island needed. HOPE.
World Vision Philippines wanted to embody that message. They desire to bring hope into the lives of the people in Panay Island. Following the typhoon’s aftermath, they started to help out by supplying construction materials to rebuild houses and schools. They provided small businesses and held trainings on entrepreneurship so the people could manage the livelihood programs that were given to them. They also put up water systems in communities and schools, and planted 20,000 seedlings to rehabilitate one of the island’s depleting shoreline area.
Fifteen months after Typhoon Haiyan, I was given the privilege to go to Panay Island and capture its developments on video. I was amazed by what I saw. There were no (if not a few) traces of mishap, and lives of the locals are now back to normal.
During the interviews, I have witnessed tears fall, when people recounted their ordeal and how they are very grateful for the support given to them by World Vision Philippines and other willing groups and individuals. Children couldn’t wait to go back to school, walk the halls and experience the facilities of their new building. Many have testified that the livelihood programs bestowed upon them gave them hope and helped them start anew.
I learned a lot of things from my documentation assignment in Panay Island. Yes, the people there were once victims of the typhoon, but with the help of others, they were able to get back on their feet.
What struck me the most from this experience was that no matter how big or small, our support can be a spark of hope to those in need.
Be that hope to someone today.
– Lenmark Santos, Video Department