The hard work of two charitable Teesside youngsters has come to fruition after they raised enough money to build houses for families in the Philippines left homeless after Typhoon Haiyan hit the country more than two years ago.
Heather Page and Amelia Thomas have taken part in various fundraising activities, including hosting dinner parties for school friends and adults, to raise enough money to complete two family homes. They’re now well on their way towards funding the construction of a third.
Later this month, the two Year 10 Egglescliffe School students will visit Bantayan Island in the Philippines to see for themselves the houses they have helped to build, before handing them over to local families.
The junior philanthropists are also hoping to take hundreds of solar-powered lights with them dependant on the generosity of Teesside businesses.
Heather said: “Many places hit by the typhoon still don’t have mains power after six p.m. and solar lights would be a big help to families. We may take electricity for granted, but it isn’t easy in a country like the Philippines.”
Amelia added: “If any shops in the area that stock solar lights would be willing to donate some to us, we would be extremely grateful. We hope to ‘light up’ dozens of homes in Bantayan Island that have no night-time electricity with simple garden solar lights.”
With the help of their fathers, Boro match day announcer Mark Page, and Icon Plastics boss Gareth Thomas, all of the money raised by the girls has gone directly to the local tradespeople and carpenters who are building the homes.
Gareth said: “Both Mark and I are very proud of the girls. As business people, we are aware of the benefits of corporate social responsibility, but not many young people take it upon themselves to make a positive difference in the world and they’ve worked very hard to get this far.
“We thought it was important that all the money they raise goes directly to the local people who are building these homes, rather than to charities who have other overheads to cover. This way we can be sure that the money goes to the right people, and also helps to revive and stimulate the local economy on Bantayan Island.”
Mark said: “The girls had some great fundraising ideas. Cooking a three-course dinner for 14 adults was going some, but it was very successful and in itself paid for one home.”
To donate solar lights please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations to the project can be made up to 25th May at http://www.youcaring.com/bantayan-island-familes-philippines-519627
Photo: l to r, Mark Page, Heather Page, Amelia Thomas and Gareth Thomas.