In the wake of the devastating typhoon, the Rotary Club of San Pedro South, Laguna Philippines is delivering solar light to victims of this super storm. Homes and buildings across the Philippines have been devastated. Electricity has been interrupted in most affected areas, leaving victims without safe lighting in dark and dangerous conditions. Food and water have been delivered into some areas however most of these areas are still living in darkness. Unsafe light sources have caused many fires in these areas and crime is hidden by the cloak of darkness. That is why our Club decided to take on the task of providing safe, solar light to victims of the storm. Light that provides safety and hope for the future. Partnering with the Grid Earth Project, a USbased Charity and Off Grid Solution B.V., manufacturer of the WakaWaka Light, our Rotary Club is making a difference in the lives of many storm victims.
The Grid Earth Project staff will tell their own story:
“When we were discussing where to give the solar lamps, the main consideration was the path taken by typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda. We decided to distribute the solar lamps in Concepcion, Iloilo the next landfall of Yolanda.
There were two of us who went to Concepcion, Iloilo. The trip started with a 27-hour sea journey to Iloilo City, arriving there at midnight. The Rotary Club of Iloilo offered us land transportation from Iloilo City to Concepcion. We were picked up from Iloilo City pier terminal at about 4 am. and arrived in Concepcion around 7am. We first made courtesy call to the Vice Mayor, Elizabeth Salcedo. Her house was beside the sea and it was totally destroyed.
Next we went to the Municipal Hall to meet the Mayor, Milliard Villanueva who had compiled a list of recipients in need of the solar lamps. As I was expecting, the Mayor did not include himself or the Vice Mayor in the list of recipients. The list of priorities included families living on the 16 small islands near Concepcion, families with casualties, missing persons or injured persons. Last were families in the mainland which the Mayor called the poorest of the poor.
From our experience in giving relief goods to calamity victims, we inevitably end up with fewer goods to give than recipients, so we made it a point to have more lights on hand than we expect to need. In this case however the needs were just too enormous. Those from the islands which had no electricity even before the typhoon were given priority. Most of the families with casualties, missing persons or injuries were from these islands.
That night the Mayor accompanied us to visit two families on the mainland who received solar lights. It was then that I realized what he meant by “poorest of the poor”. The two families are within the town proper Barangay, our smallest political area after a town, but just getting there was an ordeal. We took motorcycles because the road is not passable for cars. The motorcycle driver had to be adept enough to avoid those hardened muddy ‘humps’ least we fall off the motorcycle. Once inside their homes I realized just how much the lamps meant for them. Providing safe light enables these families work into the night and also provides a measure of personal safety.
That night, we slept in the Mayor’s office. He could not accommodate us in his house since its roof was also partially blown away by the typhoon. The following day it was time for our long trip back home feeling good, knowing that somehow we have alleviated the pain and suffering of some of the typhoon survivors in Concepcion, Iloilo”.
The Grid Earth Project will keep on distributing WakaWaka’s. The WakaWaka Foundation will be posting new stories of the WakaWaka’s in the Philippines and the work of the Grid Earth Project in the future.