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Alumnus supports 150,000 disadvantaged people in the Philippines

Posted on 21 November 2019

news, news:Alumni

An alumnus from Leeds Trinity University, who has dedicated his life to helping disadvantaged people in the Philippines, has helped more than 150,000 Filipino people since 2010.

John Flanagan, who graduated from Leeds Trinity University (or Trinity and All Saints College as it was then) with a degree in Drama and Media in 1983, moved to Singapore in 2008 to help introduce Drama and Theatre Studies to the area. It was here, on his first day in Singapore, that he met his future wife, Leny.

In 2010, John and Leny moved to the Philippines – his wife's homeland – where John dedicated his time to supporting those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

John said: "During earlier visits to the Philippines in 2008 and 2009 I had noticed the poverty that existed and felt that if I ever moved there, I would what I could to help in some way. From the moment I arrived in 2010, I have attempted to help the poor, homeless and infirm, in whatever way I can. I have developed a real appreciation of how lives are affected by circumstance and will continue my efforts for as long as I can."

Over the past nine years, John has helped more than 150,000 Filipino people by distributing donated clothing, toys, medication, books and basic food supplies. He is a supporter of a home for abused young women and their children, a weekly soup kitchen for over 300 children and young people, and a children's home.

John's efforts have attracted interest from many people, including a national television company who made a documentary about his work entitled, An Englishman in the Philippines - Helping the Poor and Homeless. You can see the 20-minute documentary on Youtube.

John added: "The work is unpaid, unfunded and unsponsored, but the rewards are from seeing how much the recipients appreciate my efforts. Every little contribution helps and seeing the happiness on the faces of those being helped is priceless."

Brett Arnall, Alumni Relations Officer at Leeds Trinity University, said: "I feel extremely proud that one of our alumni community is such an active global citizen. The work John does is selfless and is making a difference to so many under-privileged and poor people in the Philippines. He has integrated into the Filipino community as someone who continually provides much-needed food, clothing and other materials, and we are proud that he is a member of our alumni community."

Follow John on Facebook to keep up with his efforts and find out more about his work in the Philippines. 

We'd love to hear from any other alumni around the world who are doing similar work to John. Please email the Alumni Office if you'd like to share your story.

John is pictured right, on the right, during his time at TASC, undertaking a professional work​ placement at Radio Aire where, after a successful placement​, he secured a voluntary role.