Peace Project Helps Rebuild Village in Philippines Devastated by Typhoon Haiyan

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In rapid response to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, Los Angeles-based non-profit, The Peace Project, is mobilizing “Family to Family” – an unprecedented effort to connect families worldwide to families in the Philippines to build 200 or more “instant houses” in the city of Santa Fe on Bantanyan Island in the Philippines.

The Peace Project’s Family to Family initiative is being led by Lisa Schultz, who left behind a successful career in marketing to commit her life to art and peace.  To that end, she founded, an international social networking site for creatives, opened The Whole 9 Art Gallery in Culver City and founded the non-profit Peace Project.  In 2011, Schultz mobilized Operation Rise, the largest single day humanitarian effort in recent history by providing 10,000 pairs of crutches to men, women and children who lost limbs to war or polio in Sierra Leone, Africa.

After Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda struck, Schultz mobilized a team of engineers and architects to design a house that can be built in less than a day for approximately $500 in building materials.  She then got on a plane to visit Santa Fe where 65% of the homes were leveled by the typhoon, but which was not receiving significant resources by international NGOs.

Schultz shared that this project is not only about rebuilding homes, it’s about rebuilding lives and communities.  Local villagers have already been hired to clear the destruction and have gone through numerous planning sessions with The Peace Project and their local team including Mayor Jose Esgana. Others will be trained and hired to build the 12 x 15 dwellings, commencing in April.  The Peace Project is also working to bring livelihood training into the communities where they’ll be building, in the belief that this tragedy can be turned into an opportunity for people who lost everything.

This program features a unique model whereby for a donation of $500, individuals or organizations can select a family and sponsor the building of their house.  Thus far, dozens of individuals including Actor and Activist Dante Basco and organizations as diverse as Cathay Pacific Airlines, Pandora, the Historic Filipino Neighborhood Council, Rotary Club of Historic Filipino Town, and the World Freerunning and Parkour Federation have sponsored the building of houses.

“As we’ve seen with natural disasters in Japan, Haiti and the United States, recovery from devastation can take years. With Family to Family, we want to not only speed up the recovery, but establish a new model for relief that connects the people affected with those wanting to help in a meaningful way.” said Schultz.

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