Article By: Emmy Nam

Just last year, on November 8, 2013, one of the strongest typhoons recorded in history, Typhoon Haiyan, devastated the Philippines. Since then, the typhoon has affected an estimated 11.3 million people in the Philippines and destroyed large parts of the Philippines. In response to the destructive storm, ISM contributed to the relief efforts by donating 4,462,136 PHP to UNICEF and other organizations, as compared to the 28.5 million USD from Australia for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The amount of effort and funds raised by the ISM community reflects the true Bearcat spirit as all students, faculty, and staff contributed to the relief efforts whether it be through donations, time, or thoughts.

It has been a year since Typhoon Haiyan struck, but only a couple months ago a small delegation flew over to Estancia to physically see the aid our funds were supplying. Dong Yun Lee, part of the delegation who initially visited Estancia stated, “From the moment we reached Roxas, it was obvious that people’s lives were dramatically affected because of the storm and that many children, between 5 to 9 years in age, have endured unfortunate events we could not even imagine. The funds ISM raised were mainly used for rebuilding the Estancia Elementary School, where all the children of Estancia could attend. For me, the experience was life-changing, and hopefully the education provided will be too.”

It seems the trip was a great experience for everyone who went and was obviously successful, as Estancia is a new ICARE site this year where 14 students will go and offer their service for a week. Maya Schocair, also from the Estancia delegation said, “The trip was really insightful because it was more than just the thought or idea of our community helping the students at Estancia. We were actually able to physically see how our donations were being used, the progress of the rebuilding process, and the impact it would have on the students’ lives.”

It will take years for the Philippines to recuperate and compensate for the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan, but as a school, the people in the ISM community came together to aid their country, and will continue to give their support, which will hopefully improve many lives that were affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Constant updates about the impact of Typhoon Haiyan, ISM’s community efforts, or where donations are going to are readily available on the tab “Bearcats for Haiyan!” on the BT page.

Statistics from: “Typhoon Haiyan Funding Update: Australia Now the Biggest Donor – Global Humanitarian Assistance.” Global Humanitarian Assistance. Development Initiatives, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.

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