Love pours into Tzu Chi’s donation drive during its Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) fifth anniversary photo exhibit on December 2. Grateful Taclobanons passing by the exhibit share what they can after recalling the times Tzu Chi helped them in their darkest hour.
Instead of leaving thousands of 5 centavo coins at a dark corner in their home, Elsa Ripalda, who received rice and cash aid at the height of Tzu Chi’s relief operation after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), gathered the coins totaling Php400 when she heard that Tzu Chi will be holding a commemorative photo exhibit in Tacloban City. She and her family donated all the coins to the foundation to help others in need.
The exhibit at Savemore, Tacloban on December 2, evokes feelings of gratitude among Taclobanos, many of them recall salvation that came after the disaster. At the wake of the typhoon, Tzu Chi embarked on one of the largest humanitarian relief mission in its 52-year-history. From cash-for-relief; cleanup drive; medical mission; temporary schools; temporary housing; bridge building to livelihood programs; scholarship programs and yearly free clinic, Tzu Chi assistance in the Leyte region in the past five years has inspired many to give back to Tzu Chi Foundation this time.
“I put this coin can at my post in the barber shop. Whenever I receive a tip, I put it here. So when Tzu Chi volunteers come by, I give it to them,” says Amado Delingon, Jr., a barber.
“The one I’m most grateful to Tzu Chi for is its help to our Catholic church, the Sto. Niño Church. The inauguration [after the repairs] was an amazing experience, Tzu Chi helped a lot in the renovation of the church,” says Marilou Cañede, a local government official.
The youth pitches in
The miracle at Tacloban after Yolanda will have a lasting effect among the populace, especially the youth. Representing the students of Tacloban Angelicum Learning Center (TALC), Peachy and Pearly Cinco turned over their five-digit donation to Tzu Chi volunteers during the photo exhibit. They hope that their share of blessings will find its way to other TzuChi humanitarian mission across the globe like what Tzu Chi does after the earthquake of Indonesia.
[The fundraiser] is an idea that came up after what happened in Indonesia. We wanted to do something, especially because the whole world came to Tacloban [after Yolanda],” says Pearly, who handles TALC’s finances.
A quarter of the school’s donation comes from the various fundraising activities its students held for the past several days. They sold handicrafts made by their mothers, solicited donations from classroom to classroom, and even celebrated a mass where the collections added to the overall donation, the activities also aim to educate the youth on the value of generosity.
“It has always been a part of our education. Whenever there are calamities, we encourage our children to give a little just to teach them the value of generosity,” says Peachy, directress of TALC.
Late in the afternoon, a group of children from the daycare center of Palo Great Love Village joined in the exhibition as performers of sign language which is part of the Tzu Chi culture. Their parents work in the livelihood program initiated by Tzu Chi volunteers and they learn good values even at a young age under the tutorship of Tzu Chi volunteer Geneve Aumintado.
“Their actions touch the hearts of people. If the people can see that they perform with all their hearts, they’ll surely be inspired to donate.” she explains.