Fifty pesos. This was the amount that Angel Carlyn Jandoc handed the Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers on December 26. For some, it may seem a small amount of money, but to Tzu Chi volunteers it was the most special donation they have received. It was, after all, a contribution from an 11-year-old girl who was also a survivor of Tropical Storm Urduja in Ormoc.
Tzu Chi volunteers have been at the Great Love City, Tzu Chi’s housing village for survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Ormoc, since December 20. They were conducting relief aid distributions and a cash-for-work program to clean up the village, which was flooded in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Urduja. They were not expecting such act of goodness from a child.
But Angel, it turns out, was only bidding her time.
Since the volunteers arrived, Angel had been joining her siblings, cousins, and friends in Christmas caroling around their neighborhood. She saved all the coins she received from every house into an empty plastic bottle, intending to donate it to Tzu Chi as her way of gratitude.
Her family was among the beneficiaries of the cash assistance from Tzu Chi in the wake of Tropical Storm Urduja. Her father also participated in Tzu Chi’s cash-for-work program where he received Php250 assistance for cleaning up their village. This is despite his condition.
Angel’s father suffers from Hypokalemia, or low potassium level, which makes him prone to fatigue. Sometimes his legs would give in from under him and he would need to be carried. But since her parents separated, Angel has witnessed her father set aside his own health to support her and two younger siblings.
Angel grew up appreciating the people who have been extending help to her family.
Although she lost all her school supplies in the flood, and her school uniforms and shoes were all gone, Angel chose to give the Php50 she earned from caroling for charity.
“She refused to spend the money for herself. Sometimes I would tell her to that I would borrow it but she won’t give it to me. She said she will be giving all of it to Tzu Chi,” her grandmother, Josephine Bantig, 60, says.
Soon, Angel’s good deed spread across the village, inspiring her neighbors to also give.
“I heard she is donating the money she gathers to Tzu Chi because we were hit by a storm here and Tzu Chi came to help us. At a young age, she was able to come up with this idea to spread goodness. It is truly admirable,” says Gina Laurente, 48, who donates through Angel.
Another villager, Lelanie Estrera, 55, agrees. “She’s not doing this for her own gain. Unlike children her age, she won’t use the money so she can go to the computers shops or to the stores but is saving them to help others in need. I hope more children will learn from her,” she adds.
On Angel’s part, it is the most she can do to help given her age and current status in life.
“I know that they are helping other disaster victims so I am donating the money I gathered to somehow help,” explains Angel.
When she finally turned over the donations, Angel told the Tzu Chi volunteers: “I can only give a small amount right now but I will study well so when I become a doctor, I will be able to donate bigger.”