Alumnus Chaya Go on Typhoon Yolanda

by May Anne Then | December 2, 2013
Chaya Go UBC Phillippines typhoon yolanda

Many of us have heard of the record-breaking facts surrounding Typhoon Haiyan (locally called typhoon Yolanda) in the Phillipines and I am saddened by the news that hits close to home but still foreign for me. During this trying time, I have heard more than just stories of hurt and devastation from my Filipino friends. While I cannot imagine the magnitude of the damage happening halfway around the world, there has been a strong resonance of love and hope from my Philippine friends.

Chaya Go, an International Leader of Tomorrow alumni currently based in Manila, Philippines, has shared with me some practical and tangible ways she has been helping relief efforts with a team at the Assisi Development Foundation. They have gathered other private foundations, non-government organizations, and civil society organizations to form the “Tabang Visayas Task Force” (meaning “Help Visayas”). Chaya writes,

“Our job as the secretariat team is to keep this site updated on an almost daily basis with all the on-the-ground work done by our member organizations from the private sector, to hopefully align everyone’s efforts together to support government-led initiatives so that both public and private sectors are moving in tandem in many affected areas, and do not work separately duplicating one another’s efforts, which is a complete waste of time and energy for everyone concerned.

“Our coalition is quite vast, given the number of organizations who have joined us. The international community can pool resources together and can donate them to this task force’s bank account, which assures that financial resources really go direct to the people in need.”

In her strength, which is rooted in love for her people, Chaya has been a source of inspiration for me and has encouraged me to connect with the Filipino community here at UBC and throughout the greater Vancouver to learn about the efforts that are gathering here.

I am reminded that forming a direct personal connection with those who may have lost family to this disaster will help frame how I can be of use during this time.