Image courtesy of our friends at Venture.org, who are serving those trafficked, enslaved, child soldiers, impoverished, and refugees.
I don’t need to tell you that. Our lives have all drastically changed since March. And while we certainly have our share of struggles that are all-too-real for us in the U.S., I want to ask you to take a moment to come with me and imagine life in a seaside village in the Philippines.
Most homes in our village are nipa huts made of bamboo, wood, and palm fronds. The “fancier homes” have some cinder block. Most roads are dirt. Motorbikes will get you around if it’s too far to walk, but you rarely see cars on streets. It wasn’t until the past five years that a bus started a route to the bigger cities.
On a good day, families have vegetables or fruit to go with their rice, and if they are lucky, some fish. Life is simple and quaint. Nearly every family lives day-to-day with no bank account - how would you even get one? There are no banks for miles. Not to mention no reliable medical care.
William and Aling live in a two-room hut in the main village with their four kids and her mother. They do not have running water, but are grateful to have electricity. Like so many of their neighbors, Typhoon Kammuri in December caused extensive damage. They have been rebuilding, but it has been slow. Resources - both financial and material - are hard to come by. The storm was devastating, but there were glimmers of hope and the community has been determined to rebuild.
And then COVID-19 came.
William is the only one allowed to leave for groceries and essentials. He must carry a pass he was issued and must stay within a certain distance of his home. Self-appointed vigilantes are checking passes and permissions constantly, enforcing the Shelter In Place orders of the President. The kids are confined to their 20’ by 20’ hut. There is practically no movement of anyone outside of their homes.
William and Aling are among the 96% that had no savings to fall back on. And local stores near them are running out of everything - even rice is becoming more scarce and therefore more expensive. So scarce, in fact, that hunger is becoming a very real issue. Most families are running out of rice with no indication of more to come. There is fear of starvation for many families - our neighbors… our workers… It is becoming desperate.
So while I sit here at my computer, my friends are vulnerable and desperate to provide for their families. They don’t have a safety net. No savings. No stimulus check. It’s unthinkable and cuts me to the core. We cannot allow our community - that we have invested years into - to spiral downward.
We started some projects, but the needs are overwhelming. Many have asked us how to help, so here are some specific things you can do today:
Cut out the middlemen. Buying from our webstore allows us to make a greater impact in our Filipino community. Get your Coconut Oil, Lip Balm, or a soft T-Shirt today! Also, our chemical-free lip balms and our moisturizing oil make great Mother’s Day gifts.
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We are all in this together. And all is ALL. Including them.
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You want your Christmas gifts to be ethical and sustainable, but don't know where to start.Here’s our holiday gift guide of food, home, and fashion businesses that enable you to participate in BREAKING THE CHAINS of sex trafficking, generational poverty, abuse, and unethical practices with your purchase.