Typhoon Yolanda Relief

Young Pioneer Disaster Response is running a relief effort in the Philippines to help the island of Bantayan in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.


Update 2.1.14:

Today YPDR is proud to release the latest video documenting our progress thus far. The end of 2013 saw our group demolishing several destroyed classrooms, teach local carpenters in three barangays to build sustainable homes, with over 50 being built so far, and delivering rice and sanitation kits to over 1500 families on Bantayan Island. This is only the beginning and we can't wait to see the success that 2014 will bring but we need your help. Please click to donate!

Update 29.12.13:

Monday morning has kicked the week off right here at YPDR. Today we have already participated with Bangon Bantayanons to feed 200 children and hosted a beach cleanup where we taught kids the importance of keeping the beaches clean. At the request of UNHCR, YPDR will be unloading, transporting, and staging 150 large relief tents on Bantayan Island.  YPDR then split off into another group, helping unload a massive shipment of rice from Samaritan's Purse. YPDR managed to do all this before dinner.  Just imagine what we can do next year!

Update 28.12.13:

Another productive day for YPDR!  Today we had all hands on deck.  Our good friend Timmy had just finished digging a well for his new home and needed help excavating sand.   YPDR sent a team armed with shovels to Timmy's house to load the sand onto our truck. This sand will now form the bed for the foundation for Aurora's house, which has been staidly making progress.   Our last team headed back to Santa Fe High School to finish clearing the debris.  We are one step closer to giving these kids a brand new school!  Thank you for all your support, we are eternally grateful.

Update 27.12.13:

The crew has been working extremely hard to train the local carpenters on how to build more sustainable houses. In just three days the 17 carpenters have been able to finish 20 houses and we have now moved to the next barangay Kabangbang. The model house in Kabangbang was built in 2 days showing how motivated these carpenters are to get this project going. Today we were able to finish painting the classroom giving it a friendly welcoming atmosphere for the kids. The final touch for the classroom is going to be a mural by a local artist.  Once our team finished painting the classroom they stepped up and helped out Shelter Box with unloading a truck load of tents that will be handed out to locals. 


Update 26.12.13:

YPDR was back at it after the holiday. Today we had a crew head out to a locals house and start rebuilding a roof that was completely destroyed by the typhoon. Today just like any other day the team that is working on Auroras house made a huge step forward in completing her house. Not only are we rebuilding her house the team has focused on taking all the debris off her property making it a safe area for her family. YPDR also started another project today, painting a classroom in Santa Fe Central School. YPDR wanted to give the kids the gift of coming back from the holidays to a fun atmosphere instead of a concrete room. 

Update 25.12.13:

YPDR celebrated Christmas by handing out cards made by South Korean school children for the kids of Bantayan Island. These kids were so excited to receive the cards and it felt great to spend the holiday making a difference in the lives of the local children. You can make a difference in the life of a child on Bantayan Island. Support our campaign! Your donation can support the building of container classrooms and sustainable rural homes. 

Update 24.12.13:

Update 23.12.13:

Today YPDR powered on with our missions to rebuild schools and homes on Bantayan Island. We continued demolition on Santa Fe High School, built another sustainable model home in Kabangbang after meeting with their newly elected captain, and continued work on Aurora's home. 

YPDR is continuing to make huge strides. We’re now working full time out of a legitimate office, making our logistics and operations work much more efficient. Our media and communications team is working around the clock to continue giving you updates on our progress, and reaching out to media outlets and other organizations to keep this operation moving forward.

We hosted a hugely successful party to bring the town together, have a goodnight on the beach and put smiles on faces. This party was a great chance to hang out with the locals, hear their stories and take play with the kids. After cooking two pigs and some amazing seafood the team was able to feed 100 locals.  From kids singing karaoke to having dinner with the mayor it was such an amazing night and definitely reminded all of us why we are here, doing what we are doing. 

Today YPDR powered on with our missions to rebuild schools and homes on Bantayan Island. We continued demolition on Santa Fe High School, built another sustainable model home in Kabangbang after meeting with their newly elected captain, and continued work on Aurora's home. 

Update 22.12.13:

Today was one of biggest days yet. We worked alongside the great folks at Malteser International to distribute and deliver rice, sanitary kits, and water jugs to at least 1,500 families on the island. We put the trucks we were donated into action in a huge way, filling them up with food and supplies, and with as many locals as we could fit per trip and bringing the goods right to their doors, throughout the villages in town. Additionally we employed dozens of local porters to transport the food and supplies directly to people's homes, expediting the process by hours. In all, we helped manage the distribution and delivery of 20 tons of rice, 1000 sanitary kits, and 3000 water jugs. As important as our rebuilding effort remains, this was the biggest collaborative effort we've had with the locals yet, and a huge success from start to finish.

Update 21.12.13:

YPDR is continuing to make huge strides. We’re now working full time out of a legitimate office, making our logistics and operations work much more efficient. Our media and communications team is working around the clock to continue giving you updates on our progress, and reaching out to media outlets and other organizations to keep this operation moving forward.

We hosted a hugely successful party to bring the town together, have a goodnight on the beach and put smiles on faces. This party was a great chance to hang out with the locals, hear their stories and take play with the kids. After cooking two pigs and some amazing seafood the team was able to feed 100 locals.  From kids singing karaoke to having dinner with the mayor it was such an amazing night and definitely reminded all of us why we are here, doing what we are doing. 


Update 20.12.13:

YPDR is continuing to move forward at freight train speed. 

Today, we set up a permanent base on the island, laid the foundation for Aurora's house, continued demolition on the schools, and worked with Polish Humanitarian Action to continue training local residents to build sustainable houses. We will finish delivering supplies to build 180 homes to Barangay Sungko on Tuesday. We also assisted in running disaster preparedness drills at a local school.

We have just had a team of 10 traveling field doctors from America commit to coming to Bantayan to work with our team and provide round the clock medical care to local residents from a medical field office. This team has experience in emergency medicine and disaster relief. 

In addition, we have partnered with Disaster Tech Lab who are doing great work in order to provide both local residents and NGO's with much needed communications technology on Bantayan Island and SEMA, a medical team.

Update 19.12.13:

Huge progress was made in the last 24 hours. Our group is becoming stronger, and more self-sufficient and qualified everyday. We now have a doctor on the team, providing medical aid to both our volunteers and the community. We also just added an in-house architect and water engineer to the group.

The actual construction effort is moving along smoothly and efficiently. We're still working with the front loader, and completely flattened two hazardous buildings. We're very excited to start getting these containers on the ground and ready to go right away. We're moving at a remarkable pace on the home rebuilding front. We've distributed building materials for the first set of houses, and our local carpenters will be spreading out deeper into the village and getting more and more built everyday. The strategic plan we've developed will have 185 built in 3-4 weeks. 

Finally, we've added 2 hour training courses to our daily agenda to provide our volunteers with water rescue, first aid/extended CPR, survival training, disaster response coordinaton, and several other valuable skill to ensure both our safety and continue improving the quality of our work helping others.

Update 18.12.13:

Another amazing day on the books. We successfully built our first home in the village, in just two days. This will stand as a model for 150 others we are working with local carpenters to build over the next month. 

We are very excited about our budding relationship with Disaster Tech Response. Their organization is working to bring technological and communications resources to the island in order to improve the effectiveness of various disaster response efforts. 

Lastly, we've finished cleaning up the remains of the school building that was torn down to prepare implementing the shipping containers we're bringing in to sustainably rebuild.

We're couldn't be more excited about the progress we've made, and that we will continue to make with your help. Thanks again for all the support.

Update 17.12.13:

Today was a monumental day for YPDR! We divided our team into three crews to effectively manage multiple sites at the same time. Our project moved forward leaps and bounds as we demolished some severely damaged builds at Santa Fe High School using a font loader given to us by the mayor's office. This was a huge step in the rebuilding process and the team is excited to get the wreckage cleared and begin that steps towards providing the students with a safe and comfortable place to learn.

Another crew focused on rebuilding the home of YPDR friend Aurora, which was almost completely destroyed by the typhoon. It is said that charity starts at home and sometimes there is no greater reward in life than being able to help a friend in need. 

Our third crew returned to Barangay Sungko to continue our work of teaching local carpenters to build sustainable housing. YPDR aims to empower the community by providing permanent solutions based on cooperating with local residents and giving them the tools to create a safe and sustainable neighborhood.

Finally, our stellar media team released the first of many videos on our project. Check out the great footage and spread the word. We are not here to put a bandage on a serious would. We are here to stay until the community is back on its feet and equipped with the tools to withstand future storms. In order to do this, we need your help! Share our video and donate. Together we can be the change we want to see in the world. 


Update 16.12.13:

A small crew, escorted by Maria from the Polish Humanitarian Action, returned to the village of Barangay Sungko and started the process of clearing a space and teaching the local carpenters, how to erect a standardized house.

While the crew went about this, a few members started distributing fresh water from our new water filtration system. This was met with a level of gratitude and thanks that was emotionally overwhelming. It’s almost unbelievable how simple this kind act, the giving of water, fulfilled such a basic human necessity.

Another crew peeled off and continued to assist the Santa Fe roofing crew in clearing more debris from the school site, as well as beginning the deconstruction process and breaking down walls. This is hot, dusty work, but our crew handled it safely and efficiently. A big thanks to Bart for his hard work in what can only be described as oppressive monsoonal conditions.

In a late development, today we were given a boat. Yes you heard that right, a boat. A motorized zodiac to precise and now want to do what we do best, and utilize this to its fullest potential. The warehouse in town has, for 4 days now, been completely devoid of food. Today our request is humble, we are asking for you to buy us rice instead of giving us money. No one else seems to be doing this right now and we want to grab those reins, step up and take the lead. One bag of 50kg rice, will feed one whole family, for one month. Your donation today, will buy rice. There are small islands off the coast of Bantayan Island that have not seen a single sliver of help from anyone. Just the act of getting out there and dropping off these bags, will keep people alive for another month. We need your help urgently on this today. Please don’t hesitate to click on our ‘contribute now’ link, and give a bag of rice. As always, YPDR wants to be on the beaches with enough rice to feed the island, by the end of the week. You can help make this a reality, please contribute today.

Update 15.12.13:

So we have been here one week now and oh boy, to think back on what we have accomplished so far!

We are now well established on the island and moving at freight train speed. We have two city mayors giving us their full support, control of a field hospital, two trucks, a mountain of building supplies from a newly formed partnership with the Polish Humanitarian Action (PHA) group and requests from other aid agencies for our assistance.

Saturday was mostly spent as a day off for the volunteers while the management continued to anchor our efforts on the island with transport and Internet capability. Our camp was reorganized and cleaned with time to relax and unwind after a busy first week.

Sunday was a busy day for some with our first excursion in our new truck to the village of Barangay Sungko. This village is one of the poorest on the island and was completely devastated by the typhoon. It was hard to imagine, that this inland village was destroyed so severely by just 2 hours of wind. With mouths wide open, we rolled in with a truck fully loaded with building materials and equipment, to the cheers and joy of the locals. One thing that was clearly evident is that these people, despite losing absolutely everything, have never lost their smiles. They stand in rubble, yet smile and wave and project nothing but warmth. I have travelled to over 56 countries, and these were the friendliest souls I have ever met.

We began by telling the people why we were here and what we hoped to achieve and began a survey of ten houses. It became clear very quickly, that in order to really facilitate the best use of these materials as fast and efficient as possible, we must train the locals to build them. We build one house for them while training 15 local carpenters how to replicate it. They are then assigned the responsibility to build 10 each. Within 2 weeks we plan to have 150 new homes built for the village. We plan to develop them smartly, and structurally strong enough to withstand the next typhoon that barrels in. This is a tremendous concept, leading to a sustainable future and we are driving it forward. We determined long ago, not to come here and give people a fish. We came to give them a fishing pole, teach them how to use it, so that they may feed themselves.

The second amazing development in our relief effort today, is the addition of a sophisticated M-100 electric driven chlorine water filtration system made by Waterstep. Our man Tim from New Zealand, followed the instructions and put it all together himself, a phenomenal effort. It was given to us by another relief organization; the Bangon Bantayanons so that we may distribute clean fresh water to the inhabitants of this island in their absence. And also, a big thanks to them for allowing the use of their property for our base camp. Again, hold on to your hats people, this water system is another amazing milestone on the road to our ultimate goal, of rebuilding this island. We are moving forward faster then anyone dreamed possible and doing things no one else is doing as quickly. The Filipino people are ingenuitive and resourceful, and we are modeling that. We feel this is the best way, at a grassroots level, to get the job done. Please help us to help them, by supporting us.

Update 13.12.13:

On just our sixth day here, YPDR has made a enormous progress. Our team finished taking down the hazardous remains of the elementary school's roof and cleared debris, which means we're just about ready to start with the actual construction. The administrator’s office lacked lighting, preventing teachers from grading and recording paper work, so we created the first solar electrical lighting system for the administrator’s office. With courtesy of VLE lights, staff administrators and teachers can finally get back to work, building curriculum and ensuring educational growth for the children. These systems are incredible. One solar panel can charge one 12V battery, which then runs up to 6 powerful LED lights as well as mobile phones. The lights have a shelf life of up to 40,000 hours, so it's a fully sustainable system that will continue to work well into the future, and we are hoping to have more donated. 

We orchestrated our first volleyball match between Santa Fe National High School and YPDR staff and volunteers. SFNHS's team is nationally renowned, and we were so impressed with their talent that we've committed to providing new jerseys for the entire team. 

YPDR celebrated the birthday of our (now) 10 year old neighbor, whose home was completely destroyed. We played games, sung songs and were thrilled to give him give him a new soccer ball, which we've already seen him playing with endlessly. While half of the team was indulging in the fun festivities, the other half was building a new foundation for his home. 

The people in this community couldn't be more inspiring to us, and we're more committed than ever to reshaping their lives. Thank you to all for your amazing support.

Update 12.12.13:

On the fifth day, we found ourselves amazed with the progress we have come to accomplish. In just five days, Young Pioneer Disaster Response have constructed temporary teaching facilities with plans to supply lighting, restructured safe classrooms for the children to resume their studies, as well as confirmed a sustainable solution that is imperative in order to avoid such damages in the future. Our team completed an important piece of our project, by removing the remains of the roof that was demolished during the storm. We also managed to attend a meeting with the mayor of Bantayan Town, to request and secure government support. With him, we scheduled a meeting with all disaster response organizations on the island, to coordinate a unified effort. Our goal and mission is to continue providing support that is not only a relief effort, but also a plan that will continue to impact their lives forever.

Without your support, none of this would be possible; therefore, our gratitude is endless.

Update 11.12.13:

Our fourth day on the island is coming to an end, and we have made remarkable progress! We've cleared debris, damaged furniture, schoolbooks, and more at our first site. We are nearly ready to begin the official rebuilding process. The people here are incredibly helpful, and the children at these schools could not be more impressive. Everything is going smoothly thus far, but that said, the more we see, the more we realize needs to be done. We're a long way from where we need to be in our fundraising, and every dollar counts. Please spread the message, share the link, do anything in your power to help. A great thank you to everyone who's helped!

Update 06.12.13:

Last night at midnight, the Young Pioneer Disaster Response Team arrived at our staging house in Cebu loaded with over one ton of supplies and gear. A MASSIVE thanks to Gail and the crew at Volunteers in Cebu for getting us here! They have given us a huge level of support, and we can't thank you enough. Salamat Gail. Our team of 5 YPT Staff and 18 volunteers is busy today making preparations for our first day of work on Bantayan Island tomorrow. We will be leaving for Bantayan in the middle of the night to make the first ferry in the AM. We will be joining forces with another group of 50 volunteers from Volunteer in Cebu to begin rebuilding the schools of this region which has been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. The team is off to a great start, but needs your continuing support in order to maximize our effectiveness in accomplishing this immense task.

Update 28.11.13:

Our first campaign to rebuild Santa Fe Elementary School was so successful (see here) that we are launching a holiday-season campaign to raise money to rebuild the other four schools on Bantayan Island! Stay tuned on this campaign as we hit the ground running in 3 days, and please help us make the biggest impact possible!


We are being swamped with volunteers. Almost 100 people have offered to come join us in the Philippines over the next two months! With this many volunteers, we need all the funds we can raise! We are trying to rebuild 5 schools!

Also, check the attached files for our fundraising letter and for more photos of our worksite!

Recent press on our efforts:



Australian documentary on the island we will be working on, Bantayan:


Our Plan of Action

The Philippines just endured one of the worst storms on record. Typhoon Yolanda has absolutely devastated a vast area of the country. Young Pioneer Disaster Response is organizing a rebuilding effort to clean up and repair all five schools on Bantayan Island, starting with Santa Fe Public High School. The money we hope to raise, coupled with our ever growing volunteer base, should give us the means to complete our mission and rebuild this island. We also plan to rebuild parts of these schools in a permanent and sustainable fashion, with shipping containers that can withstand the most brutal of storms. We are also assisting in training local carpenters, managing a field hospital and providing food transportation to more remote, and untouched parts of the island.

In three weeks, our numbers have grown from just 6 YPDR employees to over 50 volunteers from all over the world! We are continuously crowdsourcing people to increase our impact and allow anyone who is willing to work hard to make a difference in this stricken region of the Philippines.

Young Pioneer Tours, or YPT, is a budget tour company that has been offering affordable tours to numerous destinations all over the world for the past 6 years. Young Pioneer Disaster Response (YPDR) has now grown as a separate entity from YPT and is now concerned with disaster response and making a difference in the world to those in need. We have the full support of the Young Pioneer Tours company and they have therefore offered us discounts on their tours based on your level of contribution. We care deeply about the Philippines and the people affected by the Typhoon, this is our first deployment. 

We are raising money for a purely humanitarian effort. Your money will go towards:

  • Building materials;

  • Building equipment;

  • A small generator;

  • Tools as needed;

  • A small generator;

  • Food for our volunteers to prepare for the locals;

  • School supplies; and

  • Medical supplies.

Your donation will NOT go towards travel expenses or personal expenses. All YPDR employees and volunteers will pay their own way to the Philippines.

We are a small organization but we are determined to make as significant an impact as we can with the manpower we have.

What You Get

For your donation, besides the feeling of satisfaction you should receive from helping those who need it, you can get (depending on your level of support):

  • Recognition on the YPT website for your contribution
  • A photo set of the work we do.
  • A framed before and after photo of the project.
  • A YPT disaster relief t-shirt
  • A 25% discount off a trip with YPT

We are not a major charity organization, which has its perks. We have no red tape or overhead. Every person going to the Philippines will pay their own way there, which means 100% of everything you give will go directly to help those affected by the Typhoon.

We have no way to know just how large an impact we will have, but we know it will be huge

Other Ways You Can Help

Some people just can’t contribute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help:

  • Ask folks to get the word out and make some noise about our campaign.
  • Share this campaign with the Indiegogo share tools on Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+, if you actually use that.
  • If you have the time and the means, we would love for you to come join us in the Philippines for our relief efforts. If you are interested please contact marshall.mayer@ypdr.org or chris.white@ypdr.org


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