Over the past few months, The Initiative PH, a youth-run, non-profit volunteer organization, has led three relief projects in support of groups in Metro Manila and Nueva Vizcaya affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three projects, Hatid Kapatid, Project Lumad, and Project Pagsibol, were launched – in partnership with The Initiative PH – in the first few weeks of the Extended Community Quarantine (ECQ) to provide assistance to taxi and rideshare drivers in the NCR, teachers and students of the Lumad Bakwit School currently based in UP Diliman, and the farmer community of Brgy. Manamtam in Nueva Vizcaya, respectively. These drives seek to bring aid to these affected sectors in the form of relief packages and financial assistance donated by the public.
Hatid Kapatid is an independent youth volunteer effort organized to provide financial and information aid to taxi and ride-hailing app drivers in Metro Manila affected by the pandemic. Monetary assistance is given through online transfer services to unemployed drivers who apply for the program through the project’s Facebook page. 131 drivers have received a total of P327,500 in donations, out of a collection of P336,054 as of June 26. Testimonies of driver beneficiaries can be found on Hatid Kapatid’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HatidKapatidDonations/.
Originally launched as an educational field trip for the Lumad students of the UP Diliman-based Bakwit School, Project Lumad is now a donation drive to provide food, hygiene essentials and medical supplies to the 99 Lumad students and their 12 teachers. As of July 1, Project Lumad has raised P276,721 in donations raised with the help of organizations such as Aspen Medical and Kabataan Partylist. Items bought from these funds – such as fresh produce instead of canned goods – are based on the requests and needs of the Bakwit School itself; an inventory of such items can be found on Project Lumad’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Project-Lumad-100936588199928/.
A donation drive by farming advocacy movement The Scarecrow PH, in partnership with The Initiative PH, Project Pagsibol aims to provide relief packages to the families of rice and corn farmers in Brgys. Almaguer and Manamtam, Nueva Vizcaya. Manamtam farmers have been doubly affected by the lack of irrigation, causing the ruin of their crops, and ECQ restrictions that have led to scarcity in food. As of July 1, 287 families have received relief packages in five waves since April, paid for by a donation fund of P200,993. Testimonies from the beneficiary farmers and images of the project in action can be found on Project Pagsibol’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/projectpagsibol/.
Young adults and students from universities like Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle University run all aspects of each project, from receiving donation funds to creating promotional material for social media and coordinating with partner organizations for online fundraising events.
More information about each project, including the various donation channels, can be found on their individual Facebook pages. Summary updates of all three volunteer relief operations are posted twice a week on The Initiative PH’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/theinitiativeph/).
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