2013: Typhoon Haiyan Challenge

Typhoon Recovery

Haiyan hero

Your letters generated $200,000 to rebuild the Philippines

February - June 2013

After Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013, Students Rebuild partnered with Save the Children to support victims in the Philippines. Students around the world wrote thousands of letters that were matched with funds by the Bezos Family Foundation. Save the Children used these funds to provide students with temporary learning spaces, educational materials, and more.

Challenge Overview

When a devastating typhoon hit, the Philippines were left in need.

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013. The powerful storm affected up to 14 million people, nearly 6 million of those children. Many homes were destroyed, and families lost all of their belongings.

Haiyan Slider 1
Haiyan Slider 3

Students learn how a major storm like Haiyan has long lasting impacts.

As students around the world learned about the physical destruction Haiyan brought, they also learned about the other consequences of such a serious storm. Our teams heard about the process of recovery, and how it can take months or even years to rebuild the towns destroyed. In a place where much of the economy is based on farming and fishing, a storm can destroy the crops and wash away the fishing boats, leaving many without work.

When the rain stopped, letters poured in.

Around the world, students sent in 8,804 heartfelt letters, resulting in a $200,000 donation from the Bezos Family Foundation. With this donation, Save the Children established a shelter program that helped families in the immediate aftermath, providing emergency kits and items to more to 47,500 families. It also supported families with small cash grants to get people’s livelihoods back on track, and job training and tools to over 600 carpenters to help them rebuild the infrastructure of their communities and their own livelihoods.

Jonathan Hyams Save the ChildrenRS66936 4R7A8778


8,804 letters of support

We challenged our teams to learn about Typhoon Haiyan’s impact on the Philippines and write letters of support to their peers. The care and thought these young people shared was powerful.
Typhoon Haiyan Recap & Letter Delivery

Beneficiaries with supplies from Save the Children.

Letters from Challenge teams

Filipino student with a letter delivered by Save the Children.

Kind words all the way from Los Angeles to the Philippines!

Rebuilding after Typhoon Haiyan

Written by Mrs. Hubbard and her classroom for the Typhoon Haiyan Challenge.

Beautiful artwork for the Typhoon Haiyan Challenge.

Students in the Philippines with letters written during the Challenge.

A letter written in English & Tagalog for students in the Philippines.

A family amidst devastation from Typhoon Haiyan.

Letters from Challenge teams

Typhoon Haiyan Teaching Materials

The challenge is over, but you can still make a difference.

If you'd like to teach the Typhoon Haiyan Challenge, these materials will help you get up and running quickly.