Stories of hope continue to emerge

Editorial cartoon by Mark Santos
Editorial cartoon by Mark Santos

Central Philippines was hit by the deadliest typhoon recorded in the country’s history. For a province already below the poverty line a tragedy like Haiyan was crippling, sending them to their knees. But after a year the dust has settled and victims has risen from the rubbles of the devastation, stories of inspiration and heroism continues to resonate.

Blog Social Story journals the story of Adel Siguan. She traveled 22 hours by boat to reach her eight-year-old son and bring him much needed drinking water after Typhoon Haiyan destroyed their small town in Guiuan, Philippines. Just before reuniting with her child, Siguan expressed the desperation she had felt before seeing him. The inspiring story of a mother’s love is strong.

World Vision shared inspiring stories of hope and resiliency of the people of Leyte. For more than nine months Renato and his daughter Donna Rose lived
with relatives. Like 1.1 million other Filipinos their home and all their belongings were destroyed by Haiyan. Two days after Donna Rose’s 11 birthday, father and daughter received the best gift they could have asked for, the keys to their new home. With the help of World Vision, construction is ongoing on 268 other homes for vulnerable families, which include single
mothers and the elderly.

Angel and Marinel’s house was blown away by Typhoon Haiyan. They spent the days afterwards surviving off of porridge and bananas. But even then, they exuded unwavering faith. Typhoon Haiyan destroyed more than 3,000 schools around the Philippines. In Angel and Marinel›s hometown, World Vision helped by initiating a cash-for-work program that employed locals clear debris from the school grounds, install windows and build a compost pit. The organization is also repairing 26 classrooms and constructing 59 classrooms in Leyte province.

Twenty-one year-old Emily Sagalis survived being swept away by a storm surge, days without food and hours of walking while in labor, before settling down in a makeshift medical center to give birth. The baby girl was named after Sagalis’ stillmissing mother Bea Joy and was delivered on a log right on top of debris. Her story is one the many that inspired the world in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Baby Bea Joy represented a new life for a lot of the victims of the typhoon.

Filipino-Albertans stood up to the call of times and showed a brilliant display of unity when they launched Operation Pagbangon. The campaign raised assistance and awareness of the devastation caused by the typhoon.
Different ethnicities and communities did not hesitate to help. Volunteers
from different walks of life came together. The group was able to raise more than $70,000 worth of donations.

This coming holidays we should let these stories remind us of the blessings we have. Our families, livelihoods, the home we live in and for every waking morning. Christmas is about giving and sharing. Let the Haiyan tragedy be a symbol of resiliency and hope as we face the upcoming challenges of the year to come.


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