The Philippine Embassy in Wellington reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that World Vision New Zealand has partnered with The Warehouse to bring 6,000 back-to-school packs containing school bags, pens, books, a lunch box, and an umbrella to school children in Tacloban City, Leyte, in time for the opening of the school year in June.
This is in line with World Vision New Zealand’s continuing mission to help in the rebuilding of lives and communities in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Central Philippines.
The project represents World Vision New Zealand’s share in the project of World Vision to provide 18,000 school packs for primary, intermediate, and secondary students in Leyte. The generosity of the people of New Zealand has, so far, raised $1.38 million for World Vision New Zealand’s Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) appeal.
On May 3, representatives from World Vision New Zealand, The Warehouse, volunteers, and over a hundred members from the Filipino community and other nationalities have come together to be a part of the assembly line to pack the items for the back-to-school packs, and load them in containers to be shipped to the worst-hit areas in Tacloban by the end of the month.
Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia Benavidez, accompanied by Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia and Atty. Gene Bagsic from the Philippine Consulate in Auckland, visited The Warehouse distribution center in Auckland, where the packing of goods were being done with media coverage provided by TV 3.
Benavidez conveyed the gratitude of the Filipino people for New Zealand’s immediate and continuing assistance in the ongoing and urgent rebuilding of lives and communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda in Central Philippines, and the generosity and compassion of World Vision New Zealand and its partner, The Warehouse, to make a huge and far-reaching difference in the lives of 6,000 Filipino children.
She likewise noted that the school packs would surely be treasured by the school children, as they once again go back to school in June.
In reply to the letter of appreciation of Ambassador Benavidez, Seth Le Leu—Chief Advisor for International Development of World Vision New Zealand—stated that the organization will continue in their efforts to build back better the affected communities.
In the letter, Benavidez said: “Now that the Filipinos in the affected areas are back on their feet lifted up by the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ (volunteerism and helping one another) from our people back home and the Filipino communities abroad and the overwhelming response from our international partners, donor communities and organizations like World Vision New Zealand, the Philippine government has put in place a well-coordinated and multi-stakeholder reconstruction programme covering strategic development outcomes on education, housing and shelter, employment and livelihood, power restoration and infrastructure.
“As the Philippines confronts the crucial task of helping our countrymen recover and build back better and safer communities, we are grateful for New Zealand’s partnership and look forward to working closely with you and the international organizations in implementing collaborative and innovative programmes to effectively proceed with the rebuilding and reconstruction phase. There is still a long way to go but by God’s grace, we will emerge a stronger and more resilient and hopeful nation.”