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As the country reels in the havoc from Typhoon Yolanda’s catastrophic damage that plowed across six islands in the country, donations and aid from overseas continue to pour in. Images from ground zero compelled Monique Wilson, One Billion Rising Director for the Philippines, to act fast and set up a fund relief effort through V-Day to benefit the survivors of the strongest typhoon to ever hit the country.
“With the power to reach, transform and inspire people to act and rise for our sisters and brothers in the Philippines, V-Day has set up a V-Fund to benefit women and men on the ground immediately. All donations will go directly to Gabriela to fund their relief efforts,” Wilson said.
With P8.75 million (USD 203,655) donation raised by the members of the global activist movement V-Day, Gabriela supporters were able to put together over 20,000 family packs with standard relief items containing food provision for three days, as well as “mother and child relief packs” containing underwear, sanitary napkins, diapers, baby formula, and medicines. The bundles also contained educational fliers on Violence Against Women (VAW), written in Tagalog and Waray languages, to provide women with instructions on how to defend themselves from gender violence in situations where they are vulnerable.
Women’s rights group Gabriela Party joined BALSA multi-sectoral disaster aid caravan that left Manila recently on a rough road trip to deliver at least a dozen trucks loaded with relief packs to benefit communities in the Eastern Visayas waylaid by the super typhoon Yolanda.
Also an active supporter of the V-Day movement, Tony Award winning playwright, performer, activist and author of the Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler encourages more colleagues from the movement to understand the gravity of the situation. “The need to wake up to what is happening in the Philippines is a major call for the world. This huge crisis that comes as a result of climate change, which is a natural and human-made disaster—connects us all. It connects us to people and to the land,” she said.
Funds raised will be used to provide direct services—food, clothing, shelter, medical and health needs specific to women—as well as psycho-social support for the women survivors.
Gabriela Party-List Rep. Emmi De Jesus said that the group also wants to zero in on the reported incidences of violence against women and children and the rising risks to human trafficking especially in the totally devastated areas of Samar and Leyte where poverty translates into lawlessness and criminality.
“The Gabriela Center for Women’s Services is wrecked. Our available staff on the ground went to Tacloban and surrounding towns and reported they lost their hospitals, clinics, and schools, which makes women so vulnerable and all the more without access to health services,” De Jesus explained.
Ensler commends Gabriela for its commitment to help the grassroot communities, “I have traveled the world, far and wide—but I do not know of any organization that is as committed, as radical, as organized and as dedicated to the women in the grassroots communities as Gabriela.
“They are on the ground, with the people. Whatever we raise through activist donations, will be matched,” Ensler added.
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day, a non-profit corporation, distributes funds to grassroots, national and international organizations and programs that work to stop violence against women and girls. The ‘V’ in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.