Airish, 5, is a very special young lady. She is the daughter of Ruby Ann Fecaro Bellow (known to everyone here as “TaTa”).
Ruby and her family are committed to the community of Tapaz and to the mission of Project HOPE. Ruby’s sister is the mayor of Tapaz City, and Ruby is a council woman. The mayor is a champion of the Project HOPE medical outreach programs and provides important connections between Project HOPE volunteers and the local government, Filipino military, local barangay officials and regional health care workers.
Ruby and Airish live in the home adjacent to the home where Project HOPE’s volunteers are staying. Ruby was instrumental in helping the initial Project HOPE group find a space that could house 18 volunteers in a community where most homes struggle to provide accommodation for more than six. Ruby also arranges to have the home kept clean, laundry done and meals prepared. She and her father Wapple prepare breakfast and dinner for everyone at the Project HOPE site each day.
More importantly, Ruby has become the community face for Project HOPE and especially the Project HOPE medical outreach programs. She goes on initial site assessments and coordinates our activities with the barangay officials. When our volunteers partake in medical outreach activities, she is there to lend her language skills as our English-speaking volunteers explain complex conditions and medications to individuals who speak Illongo.
Project HOPE has made a dramatic impact in the City of Tapaz since November. The recovery from Yolanda has moved into a phase of longer-term projects that focus less on the acute aspects of disaster recovery. Project HOPE has a well-established foundation of relationships to ensure success in our projects and will continue working to improve the health status of the 50,000 people Ruby calls her neighbors.
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