From Refugee Camps To War Zones, It's A Privilege To Bring Laughter To Children Struggling Around The World
I am just a clown but I have seen first hand the difference laughter can make to children struggling to make sense of the world around them
I was half way across the world from my family in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc two years ago. As a Filipina citizen it was hard to see the footage; to hear my family talk about the devastation and the people they couldn't get in touch with. In some ways it was even harder knowing what was going to happen next.
Just days after the storm hit, I was there on the ground visiting affected people with our emergency response teams. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was to witness - the warm, festering smells; the brown, damp rubble strewn as far as the eye could see; the body bags lying in the streets and the desperation in peoples' faces.
Zlatan does not know who I am. There is no reason why he should. But then, without Football, the world would not know who Zlatan is. Football, genius and valour have granted him an opportunity to catalyse a movement bigger than the game. Bigger than the UN. Bigger than Zlatan.
Just over one year ago a storm of epic proportions devastated the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, thought to be strongest storm to ever make landfall, took the lives of more than 6,200 people and affected over 14 million people across 44 provinces. This included some 5 million children, out of which 1.7 million were displaced. A matter of weeks after Haiyan had wreaked havoc across the country I went to visit the affected areas on behalf of Plan International. Driving out of Tacloban airport, the scenes left an indelible and vivid impression.
Hundreds of twinkling candles adorned fishing boats off the shore of Tacloban on Saturday evening (8 November) during a vigil to remember the 6,000 people killed by Typhoon Haiyan a year ago.
For the few that fight against another Haiyan happening, hope and current action is not enough. More than offering help to the people of the Philippines, thre is a need to call for justice. If we don't have the will to fight for justice, we must at least lend a voice to all those like Yeb Sano, who do fight. Because just like poverty, restoring hope to natural calamity victims cannot be an act of charity, it must be an act of justice.
A year ago, a storm of biblical proportions devastated the Philippines. In Tacloban, one of the worst hit cities, it shattered Bernadeth's house and brought havoc to her community. For months, the teenager and her family stayed in an evacuation centre.