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SOS Philippines

Alexandra Gemperle, a Filipino alumna of the University, gives voice to the community of students from the Asian country who have mobilized to help their compatriots.

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Natalia, Alexandra and Camille at the stall they have organized to raise funds. PHOTO: Manuel Castells

It is very painful to see the people of your country suffering, and even more difficult when you are far away from home. When we saw the devastation our homeland has suffered from Typhoon Haiyan, we Filipino students studying at the University of Navarra felt, at first, helpless. Our Facebook and Twitter accounts were flooded with images showing the destruction in the provinces of Samar and Leyte, and the despair of the people in Tacloban City, where it is estimated that more than 10,000 people died.

At that moment came also the frustration of seeing the status of our compatriots, and that this is the image of the Philippines that is being shown to the world. Because the Philippines is actually a beautiful country, with endless jungles and beautiful beaches. And with its people and their eternal optimism: its true treasure.  

Gradually, news of the dead and damage caused by Haiyan was replaced by calls for action. Filipinos, who are the biggest users of social media in the world, began to mobilize. Here in Pamplona, our frustration turned into inspiration, and we decided to do something to help the victims of this tragedy.

We have received support from the University, and we are collaborating with UAS-Tantaka in their Christmas Campaign, to raise money and see if it is possible to also send relief goods to the most affected areas. 

In addition, we have organized a solidarity party this Saturday, November 16, at cafeteria Valentino to raise funds for the Red Cross. So, people can enjoy themselves while financial aid for the victims of Haiyan in the Philippines.

And as I write this, I am with other Filipina students in the hall of the School Communication selling pastries and bracelets to raise even more funds.

I have been left speechless by the concern shown by the people who have approached us, and their willingness to contribute to our cause. I don't think they know how much they are doing; one euro is equivalent to many pesos. It has been really incredible to see how people help on occasions like this; especially considering how far away the people are from the people at financial aid.