iTZiT was initiated after Emiel Kok and Ralph Toll received the Time Asia Heroes Award. This was a recognition for their initiative to start an international aid programme to support the 2004 tsunami survivors of the Phi Phi island in Southeast Asia: Help International Phi Phi. In short: HiPhiPhi. With as motto: anyone can help. No matter who or where you are.
In HiPhiPhi, 3600 volunteers were mobilized to help. From backpackers to politicians and film stars. Together with the local population, everyone was dedicated give the island and its habitants a new future.
Next to a large-scale aid structure on the island itself, a webportal was created to report daily about the situation and to communicate what was needed in terms of goods, skills, and people. It drew over a million visitors a month.
The results were photographed and shared worldwide to explain what was progression was made. TIME Magazine awarded this initiative because of its direct, open approach and the fast recovery that resulted.
Volunteer groups cleaning tons and tons of debris. But also took care to repair infrastructure, setup medical facilities, and construct better housing. And most of all: supporting affected friends and remembering those that were lost.
Now, over 10 years after the disaster, children who’ve lost parents still receive financial support from the funds that were set up during the project.
Upon returning to the Netherlands, Emiel Kok en Ralph Toll started iTZiT. The HiPhiHi-vision still forms an important base of iTZiT’s approach: communicate clear and open to the world. By literally showing what you do, and how it can help others. Annually, iTZiT creates films, paid from own expenses, to help non-profit initiatives to draw attention to their cause. Because visual communication can mobilise and inspire people.