1. Beauty Queen. Noodle Packer. Pre-Christmas Elf. Ms. Tourism International for the Philippines.

    The faces behind the disaster relief are all different, but they are laced with that same smile, and light of wanting to help make people’s world’s a little bit better.

    In the Philippines, Christmas is the biggest time of the year outside of a Pacquiao match and it’s something the kids live for. Cue Ms. Philippines. Sure, bringing the crown back is at the top of her mind, but when not flashing that award winning smile, she’s trying to bring ear-to-ear grins to the faces of small children and others who could use a pick-me-up through this time of year.

    There’s no predicting when a disaster is going to hit and being hit before Christmas has really put a wrench in the plans of most people with little to call a home let alone a Christmas.

    Packing goods whether it was food, or other supplies she’s continued to play her behind-the-scenes part. As a little bit more she’s also doing her best impression of Santa’s Little Helper (no - not the Simpson’s family dog - but as one of his elves) packing toys to be distributed to children which are very oft forgotten at this time.

    While she knows bringing back the crown would mean so much to the Philippines, she knows her priorities are more local and that helping people on the ground is making more of an impact than anything else.

     
  2. Social Worker. Radiator of awesome. Nurse. Canadian.

    Tracey.

    Like most aid workers, Tracey wanted to make a hands on difference. Not just for the instant gratification of being able to meaningfully help those that need it, but because in many cases our time can do so much more. 

    The Vancouverite from Canada’s left coast wanted to take her medical training to those that needed it most.

    In the wake of a natural disaster, there are often a lot of pregnancies that occur at once due to heightened stress levels. Now imagine the volume of pregnancies, injuries, and medical need after something like Typhoon Haiyan.

    In her element, whether it was delivering babies, treating wounds, taking blood, or fixing up patients and educating them on how to stay safe and self-treat themselves for the remainder of the healing process she was on it.

    In true Canadian style, with a couple of “ehs”, a quirky smile, and bundles of energy she was providing medical aid, but some much needed and under-served emotional aid to anyone she could.

     
  3. Lady Volcano. Ruby star. Leading lady. Cebuano.

    With almost four million people, had Super Typhoon Haiyan hit Cebu city, the death toll would have been unimaginable. Thankfully, Cebu escaped, by just 100km and has now become a vital staging point for getting aid and supplies to affected areas.

    Monica, one of the leaders of the local Rugby community in Cebu had to do something to help the relief efforts. Everyone can contribute in their own way. We all have our means. Her passion was rugby and she was going to put that to use.

    Five weeks ago, a rugby tournament was due to take place in the Philippines. When the typhoon hit, the game in Cebu was nearly called off. But someone had the idea of making it a relief effort and fund raiser instead.

    The 6th Annual Cebu 10s raised over 300,000 PHP for the cause with the winger literally “playing a part” in helping those on the neighboring Leyte Island.

     
  4. Father. Gamer. Internet Guru.

    Vincent.

    Post disaster a lot of areas are disconnected and digital comms are hard to come by. Internet is a scarce resource and he who is connected is King. Vincent runs the only internet cafe in rural Leyte for teams based in Baybay making it a hub for NGO workers that want to get connected to process admin work after a day of field work.

    But - in order to even be able to afford aid workers that luxury, he had to rescue the 30 computers he has in his shop amidst the typhoon weather as the roof was collapsing. For someone that relies on his internet cafe to keep his family afloat, he doesn’t realize it but by keeping teams that are working on multiple islands remotely and in sequence connected he’s fuelling aid reaching it’s destination a little bit quicker than it otherwise would. Which means? Less people have to go without aid for longer.

     
  5. Grace. Survivor.

    If we don’t have family we don’t have anything at all. Grace, who had a family of 7 to care for, also had no where to go when Yolanda hit. 

    Her weathered face told a story of the typhoon you could only understand in person, but when all seemed lost her family came to her rescue. 

    Last year at this same time Typhoon Bopha hit Mindano Island - one of the biggest to hit the island and the country to date at that point. ShelterBox responded. 

    When Yoldanda hit, the family which had used the tent to get themselves back on their feet and rebuild, sent the tent which helped their family restart and rebuild to relatives on Leyte so that they could do the same. 

    It’s in times of crisis that you come together and we all become brothers and sisters. Grace’s story proudly told of a family that were very near and dear to her as her new home rose out of the debris and waste left in the wake of the strongest typhoon to ever hit land.