Action Humanitarian was founded by three LDS returned missionaries that served missions in the Philippines over twenty years ago. Between the three of us we speak Tagalog, which is the national language of the Philippines, and five dialects.
Action Humanitarian's initial trip was one week after Typhoon Yolanda made landfall in the Philippines on the island of Leyte. Action Humanitarian led a team of 15 volunteers on an emergency humanitarian trip to bring relief to those that were most affected by the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall. The typhoon made landfall with winds in excess of 200 mph and devastated millions of homes and lives.
In less than five days the team successfully raised over $100,000 in donations which included lifesaving medical supplies, cash, solar powered flashlights and chainsaws.
Despite the devastation, the Action Humanitarian team set up their operation directly on Leyte and lived and operated among the locals. Between all of the volunteers they spoke six Filipino languages which allowed the team to help where other large NGO's (non governmental organizations) had difficulty assessing the needs of the people.
During the ten day trip to the Philippines we administered lifesaving medical services to thousands and were the first out of country responders to these natives, which many had lost hope. In addition to providing medical clinics daily we sent a group out to remote areas of the island each day with chainsaws to remove trees that had fallen on houses and that had blocked roadways and trails that prevented travel for the most affected. Once these roadways and trails were cleared the locals could more easily get the supplies they needed to survive. The Action Humanitarian team was able to successfully remove hundreds and hundreds of downed trees across the island.
Upon their return to the States the three members of Action Humanitarian knew the work was just beginning so they immediately organized more trips over the following six months. Over the these months they organized over a dozen more humanitarian trips to provide continued support and relief to the most affected Filipinos. They successfully recruited and organized more than 100 additional volunteers over these six months. These volunteers provided more than 8,000 hours of service. Coordinating these follow up humanitarian trips allowed Action Humanitarian to provide continued medical assistance to the neediest of Filipinos as well as rebuilding of homes, businesses and cleanup of debris from the typhoon and ocean surge that left debri piles over twenty feet high in the most devastated places of the country.
Action Humanitarian continued working with local businesses and governmental leaders and over several follow up trips to the Philippines in the months following their initial trip they were able to secure 65 plots of land to build transitional housing for 65 families that had lost everything, including their houses and many lost family members.
With these plots of land secured Action Humanitarian was able to work with Goal Zero and Barebones to secure donations that covered the transitional housing units and solar power for each dwelling as well as supplies to rebuild a local elementary school and solar power for the school. Before the solar power was added to the school the school was unused after dark. With the addition of solar power the school is now used many more hours each day for school and neighbor meetings and celebrations. The total amount raised by Action Humanitarian exceeded $200k which covered the costs to fully complete the build out of the 65 homes each with solar power and rebuilding the local school.
After the completion of the 65 homes a member of the Action Humanitarian team moved his family of eight to the Philippines for six months to establish long term contacts across the Philippines to enable Action Humanitarian to better provide long term relief and assistance to the most disadvantaged Filipinos. While living in country he was able to build a home for four siblings that had tragically lost both of their parents when the youngest child was just a year old. These children were taken in by their grandparents and aunt and uncle; however, there was no room in the house for the children and the family could only afford a small nepa hut (hut made out of bamboo) with a dirt floor. The nepa hut was in total disrepair and when storms hit the island the children were drenched with rain. The Philippines experiences two dozen typhoons every year. Action Humanitarian raised the necessary funds to build these children a house following the building codes used by the government and international religious groups. Upon completion the four children and grandparents moved in to the home.
In addition to building this house the member of the Action Humanitarian team established long term relationships with governmental, business and religious leaders across the country. Laying this foundation of contacts was instrumental in Action Humanitarian's long term goal of helping as many Filipinos as possible for the foreseeable future.
Action Humanitarian heads up bi-annual humanitarian trips to the Philippines that are tailored around the volunteers and the communities that Action Humanitarian has identified has the greatest need. A typical humanitarian trip is nine days long and the team will complete a myriad of projects to help the identified Filipino families have a better life both near and long term.
Typical projects include:
building or repairing badly damaged homes,
building chicken coops and purchasing a flock of chickens for a needy family,
supply a qualified family with piglets and feed to raise the piglets for four months at which point the pigs will be sold to a slaughter house,
providing a qualified family with a street food cart,
providing a family with a trike or multi-cab which are common forms of public transportation.
These livelihood projects will provide families with supplemental income or in many cases new full time income. If a Filipino family is identified as a family that qualifies for a home or to have their house repaired, they are required to do the majority of the labor and then to assist in the building or repair of two other homes. Outside of the family, the Action Humanitarian team are the main volunteers in building or repairing the houses. Families that qualify for livelihood projects (chickens, pigs, food carts, trike, multi-cab, etc.) commit to repaying the invested money within one year’s time. The repaid money is then used by Action Humanitarian to help future families.
To date, Action Humanitarian has raised more than $300,000 in funds and supplies, built more than 100 homes, provided livelihood for many families and provided medical services for thousands of Filipinos.
Action Humanitarian is committed to continuing bi-annual humanitarian projects on a long term ongoing basis with an ultimate goal of building a fully functional and funded Orphanage at which point all three founding members of Action Humanitarian will move to the Philippines to manage and lead the orphanage.