Miss World 2013 Megan Young will spearhead a series of charity events in the United States to raise funds for victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The beauty queen, whose family in Olongapo was also ravaged by floods weeks before the supertyphoon hit the country, is urging Filipino-American communities in the US to help support the cause.
Your thoughts on the recent devastation wrought on the Philippines by supertyphoon Haiyan?
My heart goes out to all the Filipinos, especially those who have suffered and are suffering from the impact of the typhoon. Now is the time to work together to alleviate the suffering of our countrymen and I am privileged and honoured that I have an opportunity to make a difference. I am so touched and thankful that the Miss World organisation has made this possible — there are many charities needing help and we will do so as part of my tour, but they have graciously accommodated this new effort in light of the great need that has to be addressed.
What activities have you lined up?
There are charity gala dinners that have been organised. The first one is in New York this week, then next week there is another one in New Jersey. Originally, these were planned only as dinner receptions, but Miss World organisers have turned them into fundraisers so we can help mobilise resources for relief efforts.
After that, we will proceed to LA where we will do an auction of the gowns I wore during the pageant finals in Bali, Indonesia. Whatever we can raise, I will personally hand over to a designated charity sometime at the end of November. I will visit Tacloban and Coron in Palawan to personally see to it that the funds reach the most indigent and most affected by the supertyphoon.
There has been an outpouring of support from the international community as well. What message do you have for the world?
Gratitude, for being one with the Philippines in this great time of need. It is heart-warming to know that the effort has involved practically all nations, which goes to show the unity of the human spirit, whatever colour, religion gender or race.
And your message to your fellow Filipinos?
Be strong, keep the faith. We have always been strong in spirit and manage to smile even at the worst of situations. Help is on the way. We are one with you in your suffering, and one with you in the hope for a brighter tomorrow.