Elsa Thomasma was featured on NBC and CBS as a young American hero who helped save  the entire village of Cangumbang, Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan.  She was living as a  volunteer there when the Typhoon hit in November 2013.  She survived this terrible ordeal.  Also because of this one person, hundreds of lives were saved in Cangumbang. She had traveled to this town because of the overwhelming amount of casualties seen after floods, being very often.

Click here to see a video on Elsa Thomasma as featured on NBC Los Angeles.

Due to her hard work, a whole village was saved from Typhoon Haiyan.  In 2013, Elsa raised $40,000 from her home state to build an evacuation center which also served as a community center. Thousands of lives were lost across the Philippines because of this tragedy. Although, in Cangumbang, hundreds of people crowded into the evacuation center, and not one life was lost. Isn’t that amazing? Although she knew that all of the houses would be gone, she also knew that because of her ongoing project, everyone would at least be alive and well.  Can you believe Elsa still lives there today helping other survivors?  She gives updates in her blog and you’ll see how dedicated she is. She works for both Volunteer for Visayans and GoAbroad Foundation.

We want to help people like Elsa because we know it will take a long time for everyone to recover and to rebuild the center that helped save them.

The link to her blog is: http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/elsat/5/1391780620/tpod.html

Click here to see a video on Elsa Thomasma as featured on NBC Los Angeles.

The photos below were taken from her blog.  Can you see how much one person can do?

Elsa Thomasma
Elsa Thomasma
This is the community center that was completed only three months before the Typhoon hit. (August 2013)


This was the community center AFTER the Typhoon. (November 2013)
Children watch as Elsa helps out around the house, as shown in this picture from her blog.
Children watch as Elsa helps out around the center
At one of the weekly feedings
Continued flooding even after the Typhoon
The Chapel
The roof at the center was torn off and was badly in need of repair
After the Typhoon, the center was exposed to the elements

View of the demolished wall
Remnants of the wall
Supplies for the community center
Reconstructed wall
Removing the damaged roof
Trusses were installed
The children’s play area under the community center

Elsa and the kids taking ballet classes
Fried chicken Sunday
Elsa with the kids during cookbook writing time
Sponsor children
Community dinner
Hygiene presentation
Sunday children’s feeding
Happy as can be
Candy toss
First Catechism class after Typhoon


A familiar site