MANILA, Philippines – A year after the typhoon’s destruction, Tacloban, one of the cities most devastated by Typhoon Yolanda, continues to reconstruct its industry, its homes, and its infrastructure. Friends and family from all over the globe are one with the Filipino nation in aiding the victims get back on their feet. Rehabilitation efforts are being carried out to help build back lives of the people, but there is still a long way ahead.
While the nation may have recovered from the initial shock of the catastrophe, victims still struggle to carry on with life from the rubble. Hundreds of families still live in makeshift tents and temporary shelters. A large number of children still go about their school and play time on barefoot.
As Tacloban’s children rebuild themselves and their spirits through play and sports, MILO aims to let them feel that they are not alone, and encourage them to get active by giving 16,000 pairs of new shoes to the kids through its Help Give Shoes advocacy. Launched in 2010, Help Give Shoes is an ongoing campaign which enables every participant of the National MILO Marathon to donate a part of their registration fee to support the cause. MILO matches the total amount collected to provide shoes to deserving public school students. This year, as the leading beverage brand celebrates its 50th year in the Philippines, MILO will reach its target of turning over a total of 50,000 pairs of shoes for the schoolchildren.
This year, the little champions of Tacloban will be the recipients. The shoes will come with Messages of Hope which can be sent to the children of Tacloban in a number of ways. Avid MILO drinkers can write a message of inspiration on a foot cutout at the Help Give Shoes booth during the MILO Marathon qualifying races and National Finals. Netizens can get involved by sharing their inspiring messages, including the hashtag #MessagesOfHope, via posting on the MILO Philippines Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/milo.ph), tweeting @MILOPH on Twitter, or tagging @MiloPhilippines on Instagram.
This effort by MILO aims to ease the pain inflicted by Typhoon Yolanda that remains to be felt by the children. Rhana Homeres, a 12-year-old sixth grader from Tacloban, recounts her personal experience. “I stopped playing after the storm. I lost my shoes, my ball, and most of my playthings,” says Rhana. Grade Six student Gil Christian Babagay, also 12 years old, shares his fears. “I’m scared that it might rain hard again, and that something bad will happen to me. I think I’m even scared of people. Now, I don’t think I know what to do,” says Gil.
Physical activity is vital in the children’s road to recovery, stresses Dr. Ma. Lourdes “Honey” A. Carandang, Play Therapy Pioneer of the MLAC Institute for Psychosocial Services, Inc. “Being active through play and sport is essential in helping kids overcome trauma,” says Dr. Carandang. “The children of Tacloban need to enjoy their games and sports once again. This will enable the children maintain a joyful, youthful and positive outlook in life.”
Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Marketing Manager, urges everyone to help the children take the next steps and show them that the Filipino community is cheering them on. “There is a great need to help the children of Tacloban take that all-important first step towards winning at sports and in life,” says Neri. “As we fulfill our aim to help these kids to heal from the devastation that the typhoon brought in, the messages of hope will surely raise their spirits, and inspire them to carry on striving for their dreams.”
Through sheer resilience, the children of Tacloban have taken the first step to healing. The foot cutouts and messages filled with inspiration are symbols of hope. What more can thousands of Messages of Hope do for the little champions of Tacloban? Share your messages of inspiration, help give hope, and see the difference it can make.