In November 2013, the Philippines was struck by Typhoon Haiyan, the most severe storm ever to hit land. It caused widespread destruction, killing over 6,000 people and affecting a further 14 million people. Hundreds of schools and health centres were seriously damaged or destroyed leaving thousands of children with no educational provision and thousands more without adequate healthcare.
Over the next six months, Freemasons from across England, Wales and Jamaica joined forces to raise an incredible £185,385 which in June 2014 was donated to Plan’s “Rebuilding Lives in the Philippines” project. In March 2015 the project was successfully completed and has already made a huge impact on the communities of Eastern Samar.
As a thank you, Plan have produced this wonderful video to express their gratitude to The Freemasons' Grand Charity and all those who donated to make this project possible.
Through this project fourteen classrooms across three primary schools have been reconstructed, repaired and equipped, enabling 730 children to resume their studies. The support provided to these children will not only be crucial in terms of their learning and development, but also for their emotional wellbeing as schools can provide children with a much-needed sense of safety and stability in the wake of such traumatic events.
The project has also produced two new health centres, serving eight communities in total, allowing over 12,000 people to access vital and often lifesaving medical care. The centres have also been equipped with specialised birthing clinics providing pregnant women a sanitary and safe place to give birth; facilities which had previously been sorely lacking.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for her new classroom back in August 2014, a pupil said:
"I end this message with a heart full of optimism that we will sit in a new classroom…Typhoon Yolanda [Haiyan] may have been the strongest typhoon that we have ever encountered, but together – as a united people – we are stronger than whatever disaster that may come our way".
As part of their sustainable approach to redevelopment, Plan have employed the “Build Back Better” method to produce structures capable of withstanding future disasters. The new buildings were put to the test in December 2014 when Typhoon Ruby struck the same area. We are happy to say none of the new structures sustained any damage. In fact, due to their resilient design, one of the new schools was utilised as an evacuation centre, providing shelter and safety for around 600 people.
Thanks to their quality, these buildings will continue to benefit the communities of Eastern Samar for generations to come, helping to improve the long-term safety and wellbeing of thousands of children and their families.
Thank you to everyone who donated to this project. It would not have been possible without your support.
For more information visit the Grand Charity's page here: https://www.grandcharity.org/news.php/133/rebuilding_lives_in_the_philippines
And to find out how to donate to their Nepal earthquake appeal, please visit here: https://www.grandcharity.org/pages/nepal_earthquake.html