BERKELEY, California—What started out as a hobby turned into a fulfilling dream for a 10-year-old Filipino-American student who, with the help of her 13-year-old sister, raised $102,160 to help survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in the Philippines.

After raising $2,160 from selling colorful hand-made bracelets in December, fifth-grader Malaya David received $100,000 from an anonymous donor—all to rebuild a school in Tanauan, in the province of Leyte, one of the towns ravaged by Yolanda.

The relief money Malaya raised may have been the highest so far coming from the Fil-Am community in California.

She was ecstatic after raising her first thousand. “I’m so excited!! I made a goal to raise $1,000 by the end of December and we did it in just four days! This is just our first-round goal… I am not done!” Malaya posted on her website .

“Maraming, maraming salamat!!!!! Thank you everyone for your support, your inspiring comments, your donations. Thank you to my family, thank you to all our friends. Your support has inspired me to keep going, the children in the Philippines need our support to rebuild school destroyed by Haiyan,” her post said.

How it began

Amihan David, mother of Malaya who spearheaded the bracelet campaign, told “The whole idea was cultivated during the weekend of Thanksgiving last year.”

Malaya and her sister, 13-year-old Tala, were watching a video in YouTube, of how balloons were made. The two had been making bracelets as a hobby, inspired by the message of the song “We Are the World.”

Making colorful, braided bracelets has been a craze among the young who give them away as gifts to friends and loved ones.

David encouraged her daughters to make and sell the “Haiyan bracelets” for $10 each. The bracelets come in small, medium and large sizes. Malaya drafted a list of friends and family members to tell them of their idea.

Malaya and Tala started making bracelets and selling them during their free time. They drew help from about 200 people, including cousins, friends and various families. They sent them e-mails and got lots of responses. They also set up a website to support the campaign.

The bracelets went viral among other young people who heard about it—from her school in Berkeley, California, to Long Beach in Los Angeles and as far as Maryland and Seattle, Washington. Her website reports, for example, that “Rose and Lily” of Land Oaks, Florida, have started making bracelets inspired by Malaya.

Malaya and Tala’s experience

In her young mind, Malaya felt sorry for the school kids in Leyte, “She said I have a school (to go to), why can’t everybody have one?” her mother recalls. “So, raising money to benefit her countrymen inspired her to help the schoolchildren to further their education.”

Malaya, her sister and cousins went to the San Francisco Parol Festival in Yerba Buena, and despite the cold weather, approached complete strangers to sell the Haiyan bracelets… see more

source: inquirer