Initiative: VOLUNTEER IN CEBU
Changing the world doesn’t have to require big things. You don’t need to open your own organization, win big money. Sometime it is just about gathering few friends and helping those who are around.
It started with four of us – says one of volunteers. We are foreigners living in Cebu, Philippines, we met through couchsurfing. We used to take a boat and go for party once a month; but that time there were constant earthquakes, a lot of people lost their houses and we couldn’t party, it just felt too bad to do it when so many people suffer around. We decided to do something. We wrote on facebook that we wanted to help with whatever is needed and asked everybody to join. On the day of the proper action we expected maybe 30 volunteers, more than 100 showed up. They wanted to help but they didn’t know how. They wanted to volunteer but without the stable commitment of being somewhere every day. After the earthquake, a flood happened, so we continued with that. There was a time we wanted to stop, but people asked us to continue. So we do.
They created a group called Volunteers of Cebu. We met them one Saturday, when they were giving food away to people that lost their houses due to a big fire the night before. They were supposed to be giving food in another place, but they spontaneously decided to come here, serve to those who needed them the most.
Everything is organized through social media, only online. We don’t have funds, everything is donated, we don’t even ask for cash, whatever you can donate is great: food, pots, water. We use those things to help in sudden situations like floods, earthquakes, fires. But every month we do also something to just raise awareness. For example, we stand in front of shopping malls where people go to spend money and they don’t realize that just behind the market there are very poor people without money for food. We encourage everybody to do something. We want all volunteers to do their own things, look at system and do their own projects. We cannot do it alone, we have jobs, other duties.
For all of them, Volunteers in Cebu is an extra activity, which they take on in their free time. They act as completely informal, spontaneous group. And they want to keep it that way.
We are small. We can decide fast what to do, change our mind, adapt. We don’t have to write reports, wait for permission and all those things.
And why did they got involved?
I have no idea. We wanted to be able to party and we couldn’t because we felt bad. You can’t have fun when people are suffering, you have to do something. Then, when you drink your beer, you think: ok, I deserve it.
More about Volunteer in Cebu: facebook.com/VolunteerInCebu