Doing something greater than themselves | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Brent’s truck which transports materials needed for rebuilding schools in Guiuan
Brent’s truck which transports materials needed for rebuilding schools in Guiuan

The year 2013 was  full of both hardship and happiness. However, for many places in the Philippines, it was a year of utter destruction and heartbreak.


Typhoon “Haiyan” swept through province after province, wreaking havoc in its wake. The typhoon stole the livelihoods of a multitude of people, imparting upon them unimaginable suffering.


The ghost of Haiyan still lingers today, considering that the people affected are now without homes, without education, and without family and friends.


Nonetheless, all hope is not lost because of the world’s generosity. Brent International School Manila has established several fund-raisers and collected donations to help ameliorate the victims’ suffering.


The immediate donations, relief goods, gathered during various drives at school, were sent first to Tacloban via Cebu. However, because roads were closed, the goods were unable to travel there by land.


The parents of some Brent  students got in touch with a Norwegian training center in Manila that uses a boat to transport their training goods elsewhere. Thus, the relief goods were shipped to Cebu, and from there, to Tacloban.


The second donations, three truckloads, were given to Samar in the second week of the disaster, as the province was badly affected as well. In the third week of the disaster, goods were sent to Palawan.


Next, donations were given twice to Villamor Airbase, through various projects such as the Undi Monday drive, which was a relatively fun way to get more donations from the students. They were asked to provide new underwear in drop-off boxes provided at our school, which were sent to Villamor.


A truckload of goods was also sent to Camp Aguinaldo. An alumnus of Brent, who now teaches in Thailand, was able to raise P160,000 in a day! This generous donation was added to the

BROKEN school walls undergoing reconstruction

funding of necessary materials for the victims. In addition, Brent’s Christmas Eucharist also raised P130,000 for the victims.


Lastly, the school received generous donations from the Western Academy of Beijing, which gave US$5,000. This was a blessing to all victims, in whom the Brent community was able to instill hope.


Virtual donation box


On the Brent website is a virtual donation box, where one can still give money to help the survivors. This has raised US$54,000 so far, and the goal is to raise $200,000.


Essentially, Brent fund-raisers have been able to raise around P400,000 for the victims. This has helped many typhoon victims in all the different areas that were hit. All this money is being directed to helping them rebuild their lives, getting them back on their feet, and, most importantly, giving them a sense of optimism that they may have lost during the typhoon.


The school also thought of a project that would alleviate the misery of the people of the island of Guiuan, south of Eastern Samar. This was one of the hardest-hit areas, the place where Typhoon Haiyan made landfall.


Geographically, Guiuan is not as big as Tacloban, which is why people tend to focus on the latter more. Because of its size, Guiuan got little publicity when it was hit equally hard, if not harder, than all the other areas.


It was partly because of this that Brent decided to focus its efforts on the small island. The project, Schools for Schools, aims to rebuild two schools, the National High School of Guiuan and Lupok Elementary School. The high school had 25 classrooms and 2,000 students, while the elementary school had 28 classrooms and 1,000 students.


In addition to the classrooms, this project aims to rebuild other structures in the two schools lost to the typhoon, such as offices, gyms and bathrooms. This project was communicated by the headmaster of Brent International School Manila, Dick Robbins, and is spearheaded by him, with the support of the school chaplain, Fr. Benjamin Jance, and the activities director, Catherine Ong.


On Jan. 8, Brent sent one of its school buses to Guiuan to be used as transportation for some of the students. However, at the moment, it is being used as sleeping quarters for the construction workers, some from Brent and the rest from Guiuan, who are working hard to reconstruct the schools.


VIEW of one of the damaged schools

These people are rebuilding the school from the ground, clearing the area first, and the target completion is June 2014.


Through a plethora of donations, a selfless approach and compassion, Brent has been able to lift the suffering of many people. If any of you who are reading this would like to donate to the victims of Haiyan in Guiuan, please see the link at the bottom of this story.


Through this, you will be directed to an online fundraiser, where you can enter any amount that would help the Schools for Schools project. As the chaplain said regarding the quantity of donations, though, it is “not the amount, but what you offer it with, which is all your heart.” To him, that is the “big thing”—to be a part of something greater than oneself.


Visit schools/112814/donate?utm_source=