Pair help rebuild lives in an ‘amazing, eye-opening’ trip

Sarah Macvean and Perdie Alder volunteer in the Philippines.
Sarah Macvean and Perdie Alder volunteer in the Philippines.

An Eastbourne resident has just returned from an ‘amazing, overwhelming and eye-opening’ trip to the Philippines where she helped rebuild the lives of typhoon victims.

Sarah Macvean, 25, and her friend Perdie Alder, 27, travelled to disaster-stricken Bantayan Island last month with a company called Young Pioneers Disaster Response (YPDR).

There, they cleaned up after the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan and built model homes for the residents. They also helped secure temporary classrooms for hundreds of children and performed educational puppet shows on picking up litter and debris.

Sarah said, “It’s been an amazing, overwhelming, eye-opening trip that will stick with me forever. Going over there makes you realise just how much we have in life and how little others survive on.

“Despite their lives being devastated by the typhoon, they are the happiest and most welcoming people and it’s so rewarding to help them.

“I didn’t expect it to change me as much as it has but going over there, you see just how important it is to keep helping in any way you can and not forget about the devastation caused.”

Despite the hard work of many volunteers, much still needs to be done to rebuild the island. YPDR hope to stay in Santa Fe for another three years in order to help every resident.

Estate agent Perdie added, “Since coming back, the one question that everyone has asked was ‘did it make you sad being surrounded by this devastation’ and they’re all surprised when I say ‘no’. The families, and especially the children, are so happy and excited to see you, they radiate positivity and joy, and it’s impossible to be sad when you’re around them, instead you’re just even more inspired and motivated to help rebuild their community.”

Just £180 can build a family home . To donate or for more information about volunteering, visit