The Sailors’ Society, the UK-based global charity for seafarers, launched its first annual gala dinner in Manila on Saturday 26 September 2015, a move that follows the establishment of a Philippines chapter of the organisation last year.
Gearbulk is proud to support this charity which is instituting new programmes, including a ground-breaking initiative to provide housing for seafarers’ families and communities left homeless by Typhoon Yolanda (also known as Haiyan) that swept across the archipelago in November 2013.
This furthers the society’s extraordinary efforts in the wake of the catastrophe. Its Haiyan Emergency Appeal raised about $380,000 in its initial stages. A year on from the storm, it had completed rebuilding projects on the islands of Bohol and Bantayan, providing typhoon resilient housing for seafarers’ families and community centres. The group is underway with a large rebuilding project in Tacolban, where the storm first landed, and has appointed a project co-ordinator.
David Kirley, Sailors’ Society Ambassador and head of Gearbulk Manila, helped to coordinate the gala dinner and also doubled up as the evening’s master of ceremonies, commented “The evening, representing the first social footprint of the Sailors’ Society — Manila Chapter, brought together the maritime community, unified in our desire to improve the lives of seafarers.” The event boasted 18 sponsors, 50 raffle prizes plus both silent and live auctions and raised USD37,000 to aid seafarers in need.
Gearbulk also sponsored a table at the event and invited Gearbulk officers to attend, with some being lucky enough to win some raffle prizes!
Home aid and stability
The Society’s focus on home aid and stability for seafarers is a departure for maritime charitable organisations Helping individual workers on board ships, as valuable as this is, becomes significantly more effective when aid and support is extended to the families and communities standing behind them.
The society has also provided fishing boats to seafarers’ families that lost the vessels during typhoon Yolanda, collaborating with the Homer Foundation, a charitable group founded by Magsaysay Maritime Corp. The society has extended financial grants and employed a family outreach worker to support families rebuilding their lives.
Other recent drives include a global campaign to promote Wellness at Sea, focusing on the morale and mental health of seafarers. The group recently opened a crisis response centre in Durban, providing rapid response trauma care and counselling service for survivors of piracy attacks as well as disasters at sea.
To find out more about Sailors’ Society or becoming a Sailors’ Society Ambassador, visit www.sailors-society.org