Juelle Jade Espiritu, one of 2016’s Ten Outstanding Maritime Students (TOMS), was recently awarded with US$1000 by Western Union, a leader in global payments services. Juelle will use the money to install radar reflectors on small wooden fishing boats in Mariveles, Bataan. This award was given as part of Western Union’s global Chain of Betters campaign, which creates a chain of good deeds worldwide.
Because Juelle lives in Mariveles, Bataan and studies in a maritime school there, he knew all too well the harsh realities of life at sea. Fishermen sail on the vast open ocean to earn enough money to live, but they use small boats, which makes them almost invisible to large international merchant vessels frequenting the area, and this puts their lives at risk. If given a chance, Juelle wanted to improve the plight of these fishermen.
To help the Mariveles fishing community, Juelle proposed the installation of radar reflectors made of recycled materials to wooden bancas (small fishing boats) to help large vessels detect on their radar the presence of these fishermen and hopefully avoid collisions.
“Being one of Western Union’s TOMS has given me so much honor and pride,” said Espiritu. “Now that Western Union has given me the opportunity to help my community, I am excited to see fishermen use the radar reflectors and hope that will help keep them out of danger.”
Chain of Betters is a global campaign developed by Western Union that supports initiatives in 35 countries. So far, it has supported 108 projects conceived by individuals who have inspiring stories to tell – from lighting up a whole village to helping make a child’s dream of becoming an airplane pilot come true. Interested individuals can share their ideas for good deeds at www.wu.com/chainofbetters.
“We believe better things happen when money moves, which is why the Chain of Betters campaign funds projects from all over the world to help improve local communities,” said Hatem Sleiman, Western Union regional vice president, Middle East and Philippines. “Anyone can share their own ideas to hopefully become the next link in the campaign.”
This Chain of Betters campaign is one of Western Union’s efforts to improve the lives of Filipinos. It also sponsors and manages the annual TOMS campaign to recognize and honor future seafarers.