One year ago this week, Typhoon Haiyan swept through the central pay someone to do essay Philippines. It was one of the most powerful storms on record, killing over 6000 people and affecting another 14 million.
CBM and its partners were on the ground in the immediate aftermath of the November 8 disaster to provide emergency support, and one year later we’re continuing to work in the hardest-hit places to make sure people with disabilities are included in all areas of relief efforts and rehabilitation.
How CBM has helped: a breakdown
Since Typhoon Haiyan struck, CBM and our partner organisations have been working to provide immediate relief support, as well as working on long-term strategies to ensure local communities are prepared with strategies for future disaster situations that will include people with disabilities.
During the past year, your support has:
- Helped over 62,000 people receive vital support
- Ensured more than 3800 vulnerable households received emergency supplies, such as food and clean water;
- Rebuilt and refurnished four school resource centres, with seven more in progress;
- Helped repair 135 damaged houses, supporting over 800 people;
- Ensured future houses for 100 families will be typhoon-resilient and accessible, with appropriate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH);
- Trained six local partner organisations to understand and promote accessibility;
- Started a Community Mental Health program, providing services to 250 people with psychosocial disabilities, and training over 100 local health professionals in community mental health.
We’re hearing from people about just how grateful they are for the support they’ve received through CBM. Perlita, a mother of nine whose home was destroyed in the typhoon, says “Good thing the president of the persons with disabilities organisation (DPO) in our barangay told us that CBM would distribute relief packs. It was a huge blessing to us. We were short on rice and CBM was able to provide it to us.”
While it will most likely take a few years for communities to fully recover from the effects of Haiyan, CBM is tackling the need to rebuild as an opportunity to rebuild better. This means rebuilding not just houses and schools, but making sure employment opportunities, communities and services all become more accessible to people living with disabilities.
This year, I am stoked that the theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) is Inspiring Change. Why? Because women with disabilities are inspiring change and IWD is a great opportunity to celebrate their achievements.
Four months ago I joined CBM’s rapid needs assessment team in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. I spent two weeks working in a grueling, fast paced and urgent environment. I remember feeling as though there weren’t enough hours in each day to meet the needs of those devastated by the typhoon. I have never worked so hard and when it sometimes felt overwhelming, it was my colleagues who inspired me to keep going. More to the point it was the women I worked with who inspired me. CBM’s team partnered with a local organization, the Association of Disabled Persons Ilo Ilo (ADPI) to do a needs assessment and deliver immediate relief. ADPI’s team included several women who worked stoically for endless hours to organize food and non-food relief, coordinate volunteers and carry out community assessments. These women, who live with disabilities themselves, dispelled the myth of people with disabilities as recipients of aid. Instead these women led the humanitarian response, making an invaluable contribution to the lives of many vulnerable people affected by the typhoon. These women were inspiring change.
In a world where women with disabilities are among the poorest and most marginalized, it was one of the most empowering experiences I have been part of. Women with disabilities face triple jeopardy in their lives due to their gender; their disability and living in poverty. Working alongside the team in the Philippines, I could hardly begin to imagine what barriers these women must have overcome in their lifetime. I don’t doubt that they knew firsthand what discrimination looked like and how it felt to be marginalized. In the communities, the women would meet with victims of the typhoon, other women with disabilities who had lost everything. The victims drew inspiration and encouragement from receiving support from another woman with a disability.
Feeling inspired? Celebrate this International Women’s Day, with stories of inspiring change from women with disabilities told completely in their own words. Let Sieng Sok Chann from Cambodia inspire you:
or Kazol Rekha from Bangladesh inspire you with their stories told in their own words:
Join the movement of people speaking out about the cycle of poverty and disability alongside people with disabilities in the poorest countries. Sign up to End the Cycle today.
Chelsea Huggett is the Policy and Advocacy Officer at CBM Australia.