Fil-Am kids make ‘Haiyan’ bracelets for victims

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TWO Fil-Am kids, ages 10 and 13, have been making “Haiyan bracelets” and selling them online to raise funds for rebuilding elementary schools in Tanauan, Leyte ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). To their surprise, they were not only able to sell the bracelets but got outright donations from Fil-Ams based in the USA.

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The fund drive all began when Malaya David, 10 and sister, Tala, were watching television one day before Thanksgiving last year and saw the devastation brought by Haiyan in the town of Leyte. Both kids, who were into making braided bracelets, decided to convert the hobby into a fund-raising project for Yolanda survivors.

Malaya and her sister, Tala, 13, became more determined with their venture when they saw on YouTube the song being repeatedly played—“We Are the World.”

Their father, David, encouraged them to sell the “Haiyan bracelets” for $10 each. The bracelets come in small, medium and large sizes. Malaya drafted a list of friends and family members to tell them of their idea.

Malaya and Tala drew help from about 200 people, including cousins, friends and various families. They sent e-mails and got lots of responses. They even put up a website at WordPress to support the campaign.

The bracelets went viral among other young people who heard about it—from her school in Berkeley, California, to Long Beach in Los Angeles and as far as Maryland and Seattle, Washington.

Malaya, her sister and cousins went to the San Francisco Parol Festival in Yerba Buena, and despite the cold weather approached complete strangers to sell the Haiyan bracelets.

After raising $2,160 from selling colorful hand-made bracelets in December, fifth-grader Malaya received $100,000 from an anonymous donor—all to rebuild a school in Tanauan, Leyte, one of the towns ravaged by Yolanda.

The David family is looking into the tentative rebuilding time frame to commence in March of 2014. Amihan David stressed that accounting for the money and how it is spent is very important.

The bulk of the donation was paired with Feed the Hungry Foundation-Philippine Chapter because as it covers a wide amount of the projects and have engineers, she explained.

Amihan reported that Feed the Hungry is placing a button on Malaya’s website (Haiyanbracelets.wordpress) for people to make tax-deductible donations. “Large donations given under 501C [non-profit status] can get tax breaks and my father and I are the authorized signatories for the account,” she said.

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