The Morales family is what you may call a typical Filipino living in a fishing village. The father, Mr. Benith Morales, a hardworking fisherman, and his very cheerful wife Maricris are perfect partners. The try so hard to provide the needs of their 3 daughters and son in one of Molocaboc Island’s sub villages.
Theirs is a simple family which roots on their strong belief in God. With father Benith’s daily catch and mother Maricris handcrafted shell decors, the family can survive on a daily basis. Life in an island is really so hard. You have to make the most of what you have. No fish catch means no food for the family. And this happens especially in inclement weather. As such, mother Maricris and eldest daughter Marnith, a Grade VIII student had to go to many places in the mainland to sell their handmade decors so they can bring back food and extra money for their family. But such tests never dampen the family’s spirit. They continue to live happily and enjoy what little they have. The secret ingredient is love. There’s a just so much love in this family as in most families in the island.
The biggest test in their lives happened when in November 8, 2013, when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit most of the Visayan Region in the Philippines damaging millions of property and killing at nearly 6,000 people especially in the Eastern Visayan region where a massive storm surge occurred. Fortunately for the people of Molocaboc Island, only the homes were lost, not a single life.
Unlike most families who moved to the School that served as evacuation center for displaced families, the Morales family stayed put preferring to stay at the house of mother Maricris’s parents which was closed by. From there, the whole family watched as strong winds, capable of uprooting coconut trees, slowly and violently tearing their house apart. They said it was like watching all their dreams ripped apart that only because the house had great sentimental value but because they knew that putting a house again would be a difficult thing to do. But then again, the family found comfort in the fact that no one got hurt. There is still hope, still plenty of reasons to continue to live.
And such is true, a blessing come albeit thousands of miles away. With the help of the School Principal, the Morales family has availed the rebuilding project of the Band of Brothers Foundation based in California, USA. Troy Mikulka, the founder, has served as a blessing not only to the Morales Family but to other families like them who still dream big dreams whatever catastrophes come their way.
Written by Wingrace Carton, classmate of Marnith Morales
Edited by; Roger Z. Rochar, School Principal
Last month one of the most powerful and deadliest typhoons on record hit the Philippines. In its aftermath, the people living on the mainland and the surrounding islands were left with the task of rebuilding their homes and their lives.
Before Typhoon Haiyan hit, Band of Brothers had been working with the local people on Molocaboc Island to build a school and footbridges for the children, as well as establish a food program for the poorest students. Our focus has since been to help with the cleanup and rebuilding efforts on the island. Thanks to many generous donors, we were able to respond quickly with food and water, and soon after with building supplies which families used to repair the roofs on their partially damaged homes. For the people on the island, these roofs not only offer shelter, but help them to collect water for drinking.
With help from local officials and the members from a civilian volunteer organization, we were also able to rebuild a temporary footbridge that connects the islands. Hopefully the local government will offer support so the local people can put a permanent concrete bridge in lieu of the one destroyed by the typhoon.
We are also working with the Mayor of Sagay and local Girl and Boy Scouts, as well as local business women and other volunteers to launch “A Dry Home for Every Child” initiative, which is an international and local team effort to help children on Molocaboc’s 3 islands have dry homes. It is estimated that between 300 to 500 homes on 3 islands of Molocaboc need major repairs. The “Dry Home” team will provide families and children quality home building supplies ranging between $50 and $500 per family and the building knowledge to make an island home which will be stronger against storms. The team will then work together with each family to complete the improvements.
We hope this effort will inspire other similar efforts around other cities in the Philippines.
If you would like to contribute, you may make a donation via BandofBrothersFoundation.org (100% of donations go to helping this island)
A couple of weeks ago I told you about the children at my daughters’ School who contributed to our Band of Brothers used stuff animal drive for the kids on the island of Molocaboc in the Philippines, which was recently devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. The drive was an amazing success and we received close to 800 used stuffed animals and toys which were then sent to Principal Roger Rochar, who put some of them in the Tree of Hope, which symbolizes a partnership between the USA and Philippines to rebuild Molocaboc. Band of Brothers also contributed to a holiday party which provided food to 860 kids and 150 volunteers.
I received an email from Roger telling me how happy the children were to receive the stuffed animals and toys, and just in time for Christmas. The best part was, according to Roger, none of the kids who received a toy thought they could keep it.
They smiled so big and were thrilled to be given a toy, even though they were under the assumption they had to give it back after a few hours of play. You can imagine the absolute joy and delight these kids felt when they were told, “No, you can keep that. That is your toy to keep forever.” It was one of the best Christmases Roger and the children had ever experienced.
A big thanks again to Principal Todd Schmidt, local Girl Scout leader Courtney Richards and her 4th grade troop, parent leaders at school, along with all 446 children at Harbor View Elementary School in Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, California for making this holiday special for the kids of Molocaboc who sure needed something to smile about.
Troy Mikulka is the Founder of the Band of Brothers Foundation. His passion for starting Band of Brothers was fed by his experiences of living a very modest childhood and his eye-opening view of the real world during his travels as helicopter crew in the United States Marines. Troy believes that with success comes a responsibility to balance your privileged life with a serious effort to put your scratch on improving the world for others.
Help a child living in poverty gain the freedom to dream and learn. See the children and orphanages or school projects we support in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam.
Please visit BandofBrothersFoundation.org to make a donation.
For days after the typhoon hit the main island of Negros Occidental and surrounding islands, I didn’t know how bad things were because I couldn’t get through to Roger, and no one on Molocaboc could get a message out either. Those were some very frightening days to say the least.
After almost 5 full days of no communication, I finally got an email from Roger:
Nov 12 4:30am
It was a horrible experience. Most kids and families were in the school when it hit us. Good thing it happened in broad daylight. It was my first time to experience a super typhoon firsthand. I’ve seen many on TV but there’s nothing like it in real life. The wind was dark and cold and you could see roofs flying in different directions. If it happened during high tide, most likely we would have been carried by strong waves. We are just so grateful that no one died in the island when it happened. Some people from nearby islets had to move to our school for evacuation but they didn’t have homes to come back anymore.
The kids couldn’t come back to school yet because they have to dry up their clothes or help their parents rebuild their homes.
We can now communicate through Facebook.
Thank you for showing so much care.
Although there were, luckily, no fatalities on the island, the devastation caused by the storm was major. Most families lost their homes and fishing boats, and very quickly people started running out of food and clean water to drink. The storm also destroyed sections of walkways at the school and between the islands making it nearly impossible for people to seek help as well as offer it to their neighbors. And the once beautiful beaches were now littered with debris.
I wrote to Roger, asking how Band of Brothers could help, and soon after I received his response:
Thanks T. The parent and kids need help T. They need materials to rebuild their homes. They need food. They need school supplies for their kids because they lost some during typhoon. Please tell others to help us T. People are starving already.
Band of Brothers immediately sent $500 to Roger who was able to take that money to Sagay, the closest city, and purchase emergency food and water from local sources and get it to the kids and families that needed it most. This is a plan of getting cash to our main point person and then working with his or her trusted team to distribute it quickly. We have seen this operation work before and it is working now in the Philippines. Sending in boxes of supplies by plane or helicopter is often the first response by people wanting to help, but often, because roads and fields have been damaged, there are logistically no ways to get those supplies to the people.
When you can coordinate and work with local teams on the ground, you have a much better chance of getting help to people immediately. We’ve been able to use Western Union to wire money to Roger, and within hours, our team on the island is able to then help themselves and buy exactly what they need when they need it.
With funds raised by wonderful donors, many of whom are my own neighbors here in Newport Beach, Band of Brothers has been able to continually send money to the island and the local people to buy not only emergency food and water, but supplies to start rebuilding their homes. A couple of days ago I received an email from Maristel, one of the teachers at Molocaboc Integrated School and the Girl Scout leader as well, who has been selected to oversee the rebuilding project. She sent pictures of the parents, teacher, children, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts all unloading the supplies off of the trucks, organizing them and distributing them to the families in need. The people in these photos weren’t so much helped by our donations as they were empowered by them to help themselves.
There is much work ahead and Band of Brothers will need to raise more donations so that we can help the people of Molocaboc get their lives back. In the coming months we will need to:
Buy survival food for the island’s 600 poorest families
Replace the children’s school supplies that were destroyed
Provide a free lunch for 200 of the poorest children at school
Repair the walkways between 3 of the islands
Help Rebuild 400 out of 1000 homes totally destroyed with stronger materials. Help repair 200 homes severely damaged.
Help repair poor families’ roof water collection systems
Build large water tank to supply school with water for children and for watering lunch program plants
Build and rent fishing boats to help local community and, through a fish barter arrangement, supply food to our school lunch program.
If you’d like to help, please visit DONATE BY CLICKING HERE or mail a check to Troy Mikulka, 617 Acacia Ave, Corona Del Mar, Ca 92625. Make Check out to Band of Brothers Foundation.
Since starting the Band of Brothers Foundation, I’ve been continually overwhelmed by the generosity of donors who want to help us in providing hope and education to needy children all over the world. Especially the willingness of American children that are exposed to how others live at an early age. This past month I was beyond moved when Principal Todd Schmidt, local Girl Scout leader Courtney Richards and her 4th grade troop, parent leaders at school, along with all 446 children at Harbor View Elementary School in Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, California, agreed to a friendship exchange and contributed to our Band of Brothers used stuff animal drive for the kids on the island of Molocaboc in the Philippines.
A month ago, one of the schools we work with in Molocaboc was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest and deadliest Typhoons on record. Although the school is still standing, it suffered major damage, as did most of the homes on the island. The children and their families, who had very little to begin with, found themselves with even less after the storm hit. When my two daughters learned about what had happened, we spoke about introducing Molocabac to the kids at their school as a way of learning how other children live on the other side of the world.
When we introduced the idea to Harbor View School’s principal, the Girl Scouts immediately started a used toy drive so they could collect and send the toys to this remote little island where children needed a reason to play even more than they did.
The toy drive was about more than just giving toys to those less fortunate; it was about creating a feeling of hope for the kids while we started rebuilding their homes. Most of these children have no home and they need something to keep their mind off of that fact. Many will sleep outside, in other friends’ homes or in the wreckage of their home for months while we help them rebuild. Many have never seen a stuffed animal or toy let alone had one of their very own. Stuffed animals of this size and quality are only available to wealthier people. These are toys that have been well-loved and taken care of by my girl’s classmates, and donating them was a real act of generosity and compassion.
On December 9th, the toy drive collected 100 used toys and stuffed animals, on the 10th it collected 110 toys, on the 11th 185 toys, on the 12th another 100 and on the 13th it collected an amazing 300 toys. All together the drive collected 795 used stuffed animals and dolls and super heroes and little cars. On Molocaboc, of the 900 children total, 600 are elementary children, so this means there are more than enough toys for each child to receive their own special gift.
In January, the children at Molocaboc will be making friendship bracelets and the children at Harbor View School will doing the same to exchange with their new friends.
Leave it to children to remind us that you don’t need to be a millionaire to help those less fortunate – you just have to be willing to give.
This was 300 of the 800 stuffy’s. We probably can say the kids efforts is one of the largest used bear mobilization in USA history by children. Kids age 4-12 from Corona Del Mar/ Newport Beach California worked together to collect 800 used stuffed animals to send to the children at Molocaboc island.
TROY MIKULKA is the CO-Founder of the Band of Brothers Foundation. His passion for starting Band of Brothers was fed by his experiences of living a very modest childhood and his eye-opening view of the real world during his travels as helicopter crew in the United States Marines. Troy believes that with success comes a responsibility to balance your privileged life with a serious effort to put your scratch on improving the world for others.
Help a child living in poverty gain the freedom to dream and learn: We hope this paper was valuable to you. If it was please pay it forward and make a donation to help a child. See the children and orphanages or school projects we support in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam.
The post The largest Used Teddy Bear Mobilization in US History appeared first on Bobf Blog.
I first met Roger Rochar in 2011 on a ferry boat in Manila bay and I instantly liked the guy. He told me he had volunteered to become the principal at a school on a remote fishing island to help kids get a better education so they could get off the island some day. Roger had a plan and a vision but he lacked the funding and support to make that vision a reality.
I followed him on Facebook and watched his progress with his initiatives and it became clear he really did need help, and so I reached out. Roger has a Master’s in economic development and the two of us hold the same belief about teaching a person to fish versus giving him a fish. We believe in teamwork and brainstormed ways of getting the community involved.
As Roger went over some of his plans with me for improving the lives of these children, I was struck by how concerned he was that many of the kids didn’t go to school because they were too hungry to study. Many also couldn’t go to school because they needed to help feed their families instead. At the time, a lot of families on the island could barely eat 3 meals a day, and you’d see these kids, some of them very young, out trying to catch shell fish or looking for cans. Some of the kids were even sent to the mainland to find food and work.
There was one young girl, Christina, who made a big impression on me. At only 13 years of age, she and her younger siblings had to work finding shell food to eat because their father, who had a mental illness, could no longer work to feed the family. Christina’s mother had to clean other people’s laundry to have enough money to buy her family a small amount of rice.
Band of Brothers teamed up with Roger and started a food program that helped 90 of the very poorest kids on the island finally have at least one full meal a day. You can’t learn when you’re hungry. Next, we created small dikes and footbridges at the school which stopped flooding at high tide in some areas of the school grounds. The bridges also allowed kids to get across the water between the individual classrooms in areas of the school grounds that did still get flooded. We also committed to starting a scholarship fund for those hard-working students who would qualify.
With Roger’s commitment to improving the school for the children and Bobf commitment to support Roger, life on this tiny tropical island was changing significantly. Children could stop searching for food and start coming to a clean school which was a nurturing environment where they felt safe and were regarded with care by their friendly teachers and school principal. Some students were even getting off of the island to go to university. Roger would send me photos of the kids and I loved seeing the big smiles on their faces. They were happy because they finally had hope for a better future.
And then the island was hit by the strongest typhoon in history.
If you would like to help kids of Molocaboc Island DONATE HERE
1BAND OF BROTHERS FOUNDATION: Comforting Children with Heart Conditions in CA
Band of Brothers Foundation supporter Dana Snyder is working with a group of local women who are personally “hand-making” comfort blankets for children’s hospitals in California. So far, over 140 blankets have been delivered specifically to the children in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital in Orange County (CHOC).
These “hand-made” comfort blankets help to provide children and their families with courage and emotional strength to endure their hospital stays. Some of these children will endure open heart surgeries multiple times in the first years of their lives starting within just a few months of birth. These children and their families find strength in knowing that people in the local community care about them enough to personally “hand-make” blankets especially for them during their time of crisis and isolation. Some of them will take these blankets home from the hospital as a source of strength to continue their battle with heart disease.
This project is near and dear to Dana and her husband Eric (Co-Founder of Band of Brothers Foundation) whose daughter passed away after spending 3 weeks in two separate children’s hospitals in California. Their daughter Kapri received one of these comfort blankets from a wonderful lady named Cheryl King who has been the inspiration for this project. Dana is involved in hand making these comfort blankets in her daughter Kapri’s honor.
This simple comfort blanket positively impacts children and their families in ways that are hard to explain…especially when their circumstances create a feeling of fear, uncertainty, and isolation. This is a photo of a child who has endured two open heart surgeries. He received one of our blankets and it has continued to comfort him and his family. The Band of Brothers Foundation continues with our mission of improving the lives of children and hopes to expand this blanket program to children’s hospitals throughout the United States and the world.
Thank you for your donations which have made this project possible and please know that 100% of your donations go to purchasing the fabric necessary to make the blankets. As with all of the Band of Brothers projects, all of those involved in making the blankets are donating 100% of their time.
We want to say a special thank you to Laura Sherlock who is helping to make blankets for Children’s Hospital Orange County and to Kelli Pearce who supports this project within CHOC.
New Trajectory of Self Sustainability
During 2011 we moved the children that we support in Chiang Mai, Thailand to a safe home and started a self-sustainable child development program for them.
In 2010, Bobf was introduced to a children’s home in Northern Thailand that was in very poor shape. The children in the home ate only rice, did not go to school regularly, and were living in very muddy and dirty conditions.
The environment was damp with very little protection from rain and mosquitos. Sickness was spreading around the home which became dangerous since the children had very little medical care.
Bobf found a corporate partner and coordinated a fundraiser in both Asia and in the US to raise money for the home. The efforts paid off and Bobf raised $10,000 from 8 countries in South East Asia and $10,000 from the US. The funding significantly changed the trajectory of 35 young lives. The donation brought the children’s lives out of crisis mode, provided them important basic care and helped give them a quality stable rented home. We are now raising money for land to build them a permanent home.
Part of the money raised last July was used for the items reported below. Per Band of Brothers direction, the remainder is held in a bank account as savings and is budgeted and distributed on a monthly basis to ensure food will not run out and basic care can be provided for the children over the next 12 months.
• Regular Healthy Food: The first thing that was provided from your donations were 3 meals a day, which had protein, rice and vegetables. Last year the children mostly ate only rice and were undernourished.
• New Safe Home: The children moved from a dark, unsafe, unclean home, to the home you will see today. Your support gave the caregivers their first savings ever. This allowed them to secure a $166 dollar a month lease for the home campus and farmland. The landlord was told other People from all over the region were helping and decided to give the children a very low lease to help be part of the team to help these children.
• New Bathrooms and Shower: The new home has 6 enclosed bathrooms and 6 inside showers. The girls and boys rooms are inside concrete structures away from insects and out of the weather. The previous home was not waterproofed and was infested with bugs and mosquitos.
• Attracting Better Quality Caregivers: The operating managers of the home were able to attract more educated caregivers to work in the home because of its better conditions. This will help with the children’s education.
• Caregivers and Children Take Pride: The caregivers and children together took pride in working as a team with Networks 21. These efforts provided new equipment like beds, pillows, mats, Mosquito nets, shoe racks, and shelves to help organize the home and keep it as a good healthy place to live.
• Study Area: The children now have a study area and storage for schoolwork and new school supplies.
• New Transportation: The home now owns a truck that can fit all of the children for transportation to school, to help with farming and to get supplies, or to transport children for medical care.
• Music Equipment: Our success with donations triggered other smaller organizations to contribute school supplies additional musical equipment to home.
• Living Space for Children: The new home gives children their own space to sleep in and space for their own things. This allows the caretakers to teach children to be organized and disciplined when taking care of themselves, skills they will use later in life.
• Growing Vegetables: The children are growing vegetables that will be an important part of their diet for most of the year.
• Growing and Selling Rice: The donations paid for planting a season of premium rice. The premium rice was sold, and the proceeds were used to pay the cost of the rented rice land, for low quality rice for the entire year for the children to eat, and for the rice seed for the next season’s planting. Extra profit paid to plant corn and which will be harvested shortly.
• Fresh Water Collector: Last year the kids were forced to drink dirty dangerous water. Now they have water tank to capture fresh water instead of using river water and city water which contain dangerous bacteria. The kids helped plan and put together water collection system.
The Best News
Your donations have helped the kids so much, that all children are going to school now. They all received the required school uniforms and now are attending school. Last year some of the children were left behind because of limited school uniforms and lack of funds for school fees and lunches.
How internet donations helped change the life of a special girl
Last Year a 10 year old girl named Dar (Da) was abandoned in the streets of Thailand. Why was this very happy, warm, loving girl who had incredible energy left out on the street alone?
Dar, now 10, is now a happy cared for child. Here is her story, which is also the story of how your internet donations helped save her life.
Dar’s father died when she was 2 years old, before she was old enough to develop memories of him. She lived a normal but hard life with her single mother until she was 6. She became very sick and needed to see a doctor.
Her mother took her, but the doctor treated her with dirty needles. Soon after the visit, Dar developed nerve damage and a condition known as spasticity that paralyzed her left foot and hand. Dar’s condition was difficult for her mother to manage and Dar soon started missing school and falling behind her peers.
When Dar turned 10 years old her mother remarried and the new husband wanted nothing to with a disabled girl and so the mother abandoned Dar on the street.
She was found by our caretakers just days before our visit last year to Chiang Mai after being abandoned by her mother and step-father who moved back to Burma.
How you helped
Last year, your donations changed the trajectory of little Dar’s life. She entered the children’s home that we support and she was quickly treated with physical therapy. After almost a year at the home she is now able to use her hand and foot.
Your donations helped buy her shoes that provide extra support and comfort for her injured foot. Dar now goes to school regularly and will be tutored each day so she can catch up to students in her own age group.
She is participating in helping with the younger children and is very excited about helping with the farm. She has a safe happy home and she is able to play with the other children. While Dar may have a bumpy road to completely stabilize her physical and emotional well-being, our Self Sustainable Development Program will be there to help to coach her and empower her to take charge of her own success.
Kids are Toasting a Thank You to All of Us
Remember just like our children small efforts show the children someone cares for them.
We plan on adding more of our reports about the children we are support on our blog.
The post New Donor Funding Provides New Clothes and Celebration Dinner appeared first on Bobf Blog.
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Our Mission is to make grassroots philanthropy interesting, meaningful, adventurous and a connecting force in the world.