The Leyte-Samar NZ Solidarity Foundation Inc.
By Sheila Mariano
AUCKLAND – On April 10th Filipino Migrant News (FMN) was invited to the first anniversary celebration of ‘The Leyte-Samar NZ Solidarity Foundation Incorporated’ – a dynamic new group that is well organised, close-knit and very active in the community.
The first time the group came into focus was on October 17th last year, when they hosted a speaking tour entitled ‘In the Eye of the Storm’ by Dr Efleda Bautista, on Yolanda’s 2nd Memorial Anniversary in Auckland.
“Dr. Efleda Bautista of People Surge, the alliance of disaster survivors of the Super typhoon Yolanda, also called Haiyan,” said Dadai Norman the secretary of the group. “Dr. Bautista visited New Zealand and shared stories about the continuing hardship in communities devastated by the disaster and to acknowledge and thank New Zealanders for their generosity in extending help when it happened.
“Dr Bautista, who is the Global Climate Ambassador of the Philippines and hails from Dulag, Leyte, gave us an insight into disaster politics and climate change.”
The event was featured in FMN, together with an interview with Dr Bautista.
“We also facilitated the fund-raising for Typhoon Nona in Northern Samar, whereby the organization sent six boxes of new clothes and funds of $1000.00 to the Diocesan Social Action Centre of Catarman,” added Dadai.
Then in April this year some members of the group were involved in ‘Salo-Salo sa Pagbabago’ – the Duterte Rally held at Henderson Intermediate School in Auckland.
So it was good to put names to some of the faces behind The Leyte-Samar NZ Solidarity Foundation Inc. at their Anniversary celebration. They include the lead organisers of the group – Dadai Norman and Ruth Paler, George Misa of Migrante, Nilda Brown, mother of Miss World NZ 2016 2nd runner-up Cosmiana Brown and Leo Ramirez (Samar/Western Director), to name just a few of our contacts.
The Philippine Consul General in Auckland, Paulo Garcia, who addressed the group, later joked: “Sheila, didn’t know you came from Region 8?” One of our host’s responsed? “You see Sheila everywhere …” J
The fun-filled evening including dancing, cutting the anniversary cake, entertainment, fundraising for charity projects and a shared dinner. Cheers!
By Dadai Norman
The Leyte-Samar NZ Solidarity Foundation Incorporated was born out of a few Filipinos’ vision and desire to pay it forward by reaching out and helping new Filipino migrants and Filipinos in the Philippines, particularly Region 8.
The Society was constituted by resolution on 13 June 2015 and was incorporated under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 on the 21st day of July 2015.
The objectives of the Society are:
- To foster unity, solidarity and camaraderie of all the Leyte and Samar residents in New Zealand.
- To attend to the needs and concerns of Leyte and Samar migrants in New Zealand.
- To raise awareness and respect among the Filipinos regarding the special status of Maori people as tangata whenua.
- To raise funds for charitable purposes.
- To help Filipino communities organize livelihood programs here in New Zealand and back home in our beloved country, the Philippines.
Membership of the organization is open to migrants who hail from any of the following provinces that make up Region 8, namely: Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar. Filipinos from other regions of the Philippines are also most welcome.
To date the organization has 110 registered members and most of these members are actively involved in the organization’s activities.