Elsa Thomasma

Elsa Thomasma is a young American woman from Sturgis, Michigan who was living as a  volunteer in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan hit in November 2013.  She survived this terrible ordeal.  Also because of this one person, hundreds of lives were saved in Cangumbang, Philippines. She had traveled to this town because of the overwhelming amount of casualties seen after floods, being very often. Due to her hard work, a whole village was saved from the recent typhoon.  

In less than a year, 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.  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?

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 house, as shown in this picture from her blog.

Three days after Typhoon Haiyan

At one of the feedings

Continued flooding after the typhoon

The Chapel

The roof of the Cangumbang Community-Evacuation Center was badly in need of repair

After the typhoon, The Cangumbang Community 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 roofing

Trusses being installed

More flooding

Elsa and the kids taking ballet classes

Fried chicken Sunday


Elsa with the kids during cookbook writing time

Sponsor children

Community dinner (Elsa is in a black Tshirt)

Hygiene presentation

Elsa during Sunday children’s feeding

Happy as can be

Candy toss

First Catechism class (after typhoon)


A familiar site