In April 2014, the Bayanihan Foundation board member James Castillo traveled to Cebu, Philippines and led the Environmental Youth Camp for Sustainability. The following blog entry is his personal insight and experience of that wonderful trip:
For the past 4 years, the Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide has supported the Environmental Youth Camp in Cebu. Each year a new generation of environmental volunteers are born. But this year’s camp is very important. The camp gathered 30 youth participants from different parts of Visayas, the region in the Philippines hit hard by Typhoon Haiyan.
On the second day of the camp the youth participants participated in the relief distribution of goods to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Northern Cebu. Together with the 30 youth participants were members of the local youth organization, UYCO (uma youth christian organization).
Youth participants plant mangrove trees in Northern Cebu, Philippines.
Song writing workshop in the midst of a sugarcane plantation.
Filmmaking workshop participants busy drafting their scripts about their experiences with the 7.2 earthquake in Bohol and Typhoon Haiyan and Theater workshop participants at the first critiquing session. Afterwards, filmmaking workshop participants are given awards for their scripts during the awards night part of the Solidarity Night. Participants also gave a speech after receiving the best animated feature award. Daniel Uy, writer of The Flower talked about the community’s need to help restore the environment.
Bayanihan Board member James Castillo together with representatives from VDRN (Visayas Disaster Response Network), VMPRDC (Visayas Mindanao People’s Resource Development Center) and CONCERN (Center for Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation, Inc.) presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Mayor of Medellin, Cebu for supporting the 2014 camp.
During the last and fifth day of the camp, youth participants decide to continue what they have learned and formed the Natura youth group. They will put together a project proposal to carry out a Permaculture project at one of the urban poor communities in Cebu City. This is the first camp that the organizers, volunteers and participants learned about permaculture or Permanent Agriculture, a new model at looking at Nature and Development. A vision that works with nature and not against it. The goal of Permaculture is to create holistic and self-sustaining communities that address all the basic needs of people while making nature more abundant. The Philippines is a tropical country. It makes no sense why millions of Filipinos go without proper food and water every day. The 2014 Environmental Youth Campers together with concerned people nationally and internationally will start the long process of sustainable recovery for Filipinos. Out of the destruction and chaos of Typhoon Haiyan, grassroots communities in Cebu and other devastated islands will rise like a Phoenix, a symbol that will show the world that we can still make that vision of a sustainable future a reality.