One year after Typhoon Haiyan – Happy Hearts Fund Update
One year ago, on November 8th 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Tacloban region of the Philippines. This tragic event forced millions to leave their homes and took the lives of over 6,000 people.
Within 4 months of the typhoon, our Happy Hearts Fund team flew to the Philippines to assess the damage and to find proactive communities and schools in need. Even months after the storm, our Program Director, Laura Giannini, said that she saw some of the worst damage she has ever seen. She said, “While traveling around Tacloban with a skilled architect from Architecture for Humanity, we noticed that many buildings looked more like they were struck by a giant wave than a storm. The entire waterfront was totally devastated and many buildings were completely destroyed.”
Through creating partnerships with Philam Foundation and Architecture for Humanity, we began 5 school reconstruction projects in the Letye province. Each of these schools consist of totally destroyed buildings as well as some standing buildings that were very unsafe for teaching. Some students were attending classes in temporary structures while others were still using unsafe buildings. Despite the trauma that the communities experienced because of the storm, our team members were moved by the resilient spirit of the children and the determination of the parents and teachers to continue providing education for the children in their community.
One year later, Happy Hearts Fund has proudly completed the reconstruction of 2 safe-resilient schools and has 3 more schools under construction! By reconstructing schools as soon as possible during the gap period when first response is complete and communities still wait for long term recovery, we ensure that students and communities won’t have to wait 2, 4, or even 6 years for a new school. This avoids a loss of instructional time when students would otherwise be unproductive and parents would have to stop working to care for their children. By working with skilled architects and engineers we make sure that not only do we rebuild the schools quickly, we also build back better through the use of disaster resistant materials and techniques.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to our many donors and supporters who have shared their hearts with the wonderful communities in the Philippines by donating to Happy Hearts Fund. Because of your care, we have been able to bring quick and sustainable response to communities in need.