Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Students interested in international events and human rights issues can find a wealth of opportunity in an upcoming fundraiser dinner for victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The dinner will be held in the Friends Meeting House this Saturday, February 1st, at 6 PM. The dinner is being co-sponsored by I-20 (the International Club) and the Student Activities Office.
Even months after Typhoon Haiyan hit, the Philippines remains devastated. Since the natural disaster, over 6,000 individuals have been reported dead and thousands remain missing. In particular, areas of the Philippines were brutally affected, and the country still faces significant problems today as a result.
Maki Somosot ’12 was horrified by the destruction caused by this natural disaster. She was upset as both a citizen of the world and someone who was born in the Philippines. Upon hearing this news, she felt a close connection to those affected by this tragedy.
“When Typhoon Haiyan happened at the start of November, I realized that I needed to do something to help my fellow Filipinos. […] I was born and raised there, so this cause is very close to me,” Somosot said.
In order to combat the powerlessness she felt, Somosot was spurred to do something to provide relief.
“[This] happened in the same region where my parents’ province is, so the very idea that it could have hit my parents’ province was enough to sort of jumpstart my thinking that I need to contribute and give back,” Somosot said.
This lead Somosot to organize a fundraiser dinner at Swarthmore to benefit disaster victims.
“[The idea for the dinner] was something born out of a current gastronomic trend I’ve been seeing in New York City. Over the last couple of months, Filipino food has become the latest ethnic food […] I decided to bring that idea to Swarthmore,” she said.
At the dinner, there will be a suggested donation of $10. Proceeds from the dinner will be split between Dakila, an advocacy group addressing problems within the Philippines, and Operation Airdrop, an organization that provides relief goods to remote areas affected by the typhoon.
The dinner will feature several staples of Filipino cuisine, such as adobo (meat flavored with specific seasoning and vinegar, often considered the unofficial national food of the Philippines), lumpiang shanghai (pork spring rolls), and palabok (a rice noodle dish). Students will be encouraged to eat with their hands, kamayan-style.
The dinner will not only offer students a taste of Filipino culture, but it will also help connect students to individuals directly affected by the typhoon. “Hearing these stories from someone who came from the Philippines will help Swatties make that connection,” Somosot said. “It’s a very real event, and it has affected so many people worldwide […] People are still passing dead bodies on the ground today.”
“Whenever there’s a disaster there’s a lot of flurry afterwards, but after a short period of time it dies down and people forget.” said Somosot regarding the media coverage of the disaster.
“One way for people to help would be to keep informing others that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, and keeping that awareness going so that there’s not just a short-term response.”