In the Philippines: Doing What We Can

Levi Strauss & Co.
November 21, 2013

Sheets of plastic. That’s what Evelyn Quisaba asked for.

It’s difficult to imagine that something so simple could make a difference in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, but Evelyn, a resident of one of the hardest hit regions, told the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) it would.

“The roof leaks when it rains. So I asked for plastic sheets, so the water will stop dripping and we can sleep better,” said Evelyn. “This is what we really need. I think this is the most important thing for my family now, so we can have a good sleep.”

Basic aid like this is why the Levi Strauss Foundation has donated $50,000 to the UNHCR – money that will be used to address immediate needs in the most affected areas of the Philippines.

We read this morning about what some coastal residents are using to replace the fishing boats that were destroyed in the typhoon. Refrigerators, supplemented with bamboo rafts.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and this is a real example.

Food is desperately needed, and the folks who live on the margins, making their living by fishing the coastal waters, need a way to get to the fish. These refrigerators-as-boats will do the trick.

With this in mind, the Levi Strauss Foundation is also donating another $50,000 to the National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines, known by its native acronym, KAMP. The nonprofit is partnering with other NGOs and local governments to respond to the needs of the most marginalized populations – women, peasants, fishermen and others – affected by the typhoon.

Targeting aid to populations most impacted by disasters – and who often do not receive adequate aid – is a hallmark of the Levi Strauss Foundation’s approach to disaster relief.

Levi Strauss & Co. employees are also doing their part. In Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Japan, they’re leading fundraising efforts among their colleagues to provide assistance.

In the wake of such death and destruction, it’s easy to feel awestruck and helpless. But it’s also inspiring to see people all over the world doing what they can to help in a time of tremendous need. I’m proud my Levi Strauss & Co. colleagues are stepping up.

Image: ©UNHCR/V.Tan