Panda Jiu-jitsu

Photo of Milford Sound in New Zealand!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A grappler's crusade: Relief for Typhoon Haiyan victims

Braver & Stronger tee benefiting the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda

During this past week the world witnessed how the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines endured Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. Meteorologists coined the super typhoon as the biggest storm ever recorded in history. All over media outlets we see the aftermath of Haiyan: displaced, hungry, weeping residents unknowing when their next meal or even their next drink of water will be.

Aid has poured in from the international community. Stories of generosity fill my social media timelines giving me hope that humanity has not forgotten to be humane

Every ounce of help goes a long way. Skip the empty calories from that soy latte tomorrow morning, eat in for Friday date night, or watch movies at home instead of the cinemas. These very, very minute tweaks to your routine can free up some of your resources. Resources that can potentially feed a family.

Collecting whatever resources and people I can gather to this cause, I am doing what I can from miles away to help my brothers and sisters in need. Two months ago while on a trip to the Philippines, I had the pleasure of visiting Isabel, Leyte. During my brief stay, I experienced paradise. It was real island living. As a coastal village, the sea breeze greeted me every morning as I wake up. Although an outsider, I was immediately treated like family by my hosts. The feeling of belonging filled my heart. I was taken around town experiencing the lifestyle of the Isabelanon.

View from the balcony, Isabel, Leyte

The people of Leyte, Samar, Bantayan Island and Northern Cebu deserve much better and it's up to us to make a difference. There's nothing I wouldn't do to help this town and the entire region, rise up from this tragedy. Many groups have started campaigns to collect funds. Sending material objects such as food, medicine, clothing is a noble act in itself however delivery may take time due to logistic-constraints and time is of the essence. Cash donations are a more flexible way of sending help. Teams on the ground can use your money to purchase needed supplies from neighboring islands. You can send donations via the Philippine Red Cross website or your preferred charitable organizations.

Within the jiu-jitsu community - a collaborative effort was started by Gawakoto with the help of Scramble and Meerkatsu to help the victims of super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. The result is "Braver & Stronger": a fundraising t-shirt with 100% of the proceeds going to the UK Charity collective Disasters Emergency Committee. Bong from Gawakoto is Filipino born and raised so this tragedy strikes too close to home. Whether or not you make a purchase or donation, spreading the word about this project is good enough effort. We all have unique ways of helping out, don't let your finances dictate what type of help you are capable of providing. Every little bit helps. Survivors out there have much bigger problems.

Let's all band together as grapplers, as human beings and help rehabilitate the Philippines.