The Philippines’ location on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean makes it the most exposed country to tropical storms, or typhoons (bagyo in Filipino). This country, made up of 7,000 islands with a population of 96 million, is battered by an average of 20 typhoons yearly. But even in a nation used to powerful storms, the force of Super Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda) was unimaginable. Its 190 mph winds and 20-foot coastal surges caused over 6,000 deaths, catastrophic devastation, and left about 11 million homeless in the Visayas- the central region of the country.
The typhoon not only killed people and wiped out communities but also wrecked their means of livelihood like fishing and coconut farming. Thirty-three million coconut trees, most of them decades-old, were destroyed. For people already living marginally, the damage has caused widespread suffering.
A group of concerned Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from the Philippines came together to develop plans to provide economic and livelihood assistance to a community in great need. Some of the RPCVs know the people and would like to give back in a meaningful way. Their main goal is to provide financial assistance to start up small businesses and promote entrepreneurship so people can get back on their feet and life them out of poverty. By providing a loan—not a gift—to the people in need, the money can continue to circulate in the community and grow their economy.