UK-based youth group to do virtual 1,083-mile walk to raise funds for PH scholars, tree-planting

Published February 24, 2021, 12:06 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

London-based youth organization Yapak has unveiled a fundraising project that aims to support poverty-stricken students and finance tree-planting efforts in the Philippines.

The Yapak Walk 2021 presented its ” Length of the UK Virtual Challenge,” a 1,083-mile (1,743 km) road trip from Land’s End in Cornwall in the United Kingdom to John O’Groats in the Scottish Highlands.

Around 400 Yapak ambassadors, most of whom came from poor families, can benefit from the project.

“Simula nung bata ako, I believe na we have to support ang mga kabataan na matulungan lalo na yung gusto I-explore ang kanilang talent (Since I was a child, I believe that we have to support young people, especially those who want to explore their talent),” Elija Villanueva, founder of Yapak, told the Manila Bulletin.

Yapak, founded in 2017, has so far granted a scholarship to more than 70 students in the country. 

“Nagsimula ako sa hirap kaya at naging scholar ng ibat ibang organisation. Gusto ko lang ibalik yung blessing sa ibang mga tao, lalung-lalo na sa mga kabataan (I grew up poor and became a scholar of various organizations. I just want to give back the blessing to other people especially to the youth),” Villanueva said.

The project also aims to plant 10,000 trees around the Philippines to help in the reduction of carbon emissions globally while providing livelihood and healthier environment for people and wildlife locally.

In exchange for this, the team will have to complete a 1,743km walk, virtually.

“With your support, we can restore the world to its former glory, one YAPAK (step) at a time. We have partnered with local agencies to help us with this project,” the group said on its website.

Among the trees that will be planted are Katmon, Molave, Narra, Papaya, Mango, and Banana which will help not only in reducing carbon emissions but also provide food and materials for shelter in the long run.

“Please help us restore the Philippines into the green paradise it once was; home to many endemic flora and fauna, while fulfilling the needs of its stakeholders sustainably,” it added.

The campaign started last February 1 and will finish on April 22, 2021. 

“YAPAK provides a manifesto in generating and staking innovative literary pieces and inspiring stories of Filipinos through the internet and communal conventions in diverse parts of the world,” the group said on its website.

“YAPAK’s primary purpose is to instil in the youth from all over the world these values — the Love of God (Maka-Diyos), People (Maka-tao), Nature (Makakalikasan), and Country (Makabansa), to honour their respective families, and contribute to society.”

Last year, the organization also held the first Filipino Spoken Word Poetry in London with an aim to promote Filipino culture and values, as well as illustrating scenarios of the frontliners’ daily struggle in fighting against COVID-19 through writing and performing.