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Filipino community in Switzerland initiates fund-raising activities for victims of typhoon Haiyan

True to traditional Filipino spirit of bayanihan, Filipino groups and organizations across Switzerland are organizing fund-raising activities such as bake sale and other events to help raise funds for the victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The Samahang Pilipina (SP) Bern organized a bake sale during the week.  Swiss and Filipinos alike supported the activity by donating cakes, pastries and bags of other goodies, which the group sold or traded in return for any amount of donations from passers-by.

Members and supporters of Samahang Pilipina Bern organize a bake sale to help the typhoon victims

Photos (L-R): Second generation Swiss.-Filipinos lend support to fund-raising activities for the typhoon victims; Filipinos from other Swiss cities join the Filipinos in Berne in  providing a light mood to the fund-raising activities by serenading  passers-by with Filipino and Christmas songs

Even some Filipino men came to support the women’s fund-raising activity by bringing guitar and serenading the crowd with Filipino and Christmas songs as they queue in front of the SP stall to donate for the typhoon victims. The half-day event raised more than CHF 5,000. The money will go to the provision of immediate relief to the typhoon victims, particularly in Leyte and Cebu.

 Passers-by buy cakes and other goodies for a good cause

Filipino employees at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) also initiated fund-raising among themselves and other UN employees. The initiative, which initially raised CHF 16,506.30, was doubled by the UN reaching a total of CHF 45, 435. 00. The donations will be divided equally between the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

Employees at the United Nations Office in Geneva help raise funds
for the typhoon victims

The Hiligaynon Group of Switzerland, which was one of the first to organize a fund-raising event, also donated CHF 6,000 to the victims in the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz and Negros. The donations will be coursed through the local groups in Iloilo, Capiz, Antique and Negros.

The English-Speaking Roman Catholic Community in Berne, whose members include a lot of Filipinos residing in the Swiss capital, also organized a bazaar for the typhoon victims.
Even the Philippine Catholic Mission has been celebrating masses across Switzerland for the typhoon victims. Mass collections from these mass celebrations will be sent to the Philippines, mostly through the SVD missions in the typhoon-hit areas, to help in the immediate relief efforts for the victims. 
Apart from fund-raising activities, numerous Filipino individuals and groups such as those in Chur, Winterthur, Zürich, Aarau and Lugano have also been sending donations in-kind such as relief goods and clothes to the typhoon-hit areas either directly or in partnership with various humanitarian organizations with active presence in the typhoon-affected region.
The various fund-raising and charity events being organized by Filipino communities across Switzerland complement the fund-raising done and donations given by various Swiss and Liechtenstein companies such as Ivoclar Vivadent, UBS and Credit Suisse, and non-government organizations, such as the Swiss Solidarity, Caritas Schweiz and Swiss Red Cross.
Calamities and natural disasters such as typhoon Haiyan just proves that traditional Filipino values such as that of bayanihan or mutual help still live on in the hearts of many Filipinos abroad, even those whose connections with the Philippines are simply through their Filipino parent, as in the case of second generation Swiss Filipinos, most of whom were born and raised in Switzerland and have only visited the Philippines on occasions. END

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