The Philippines was struck by two of the strongest typhoons in recent years – Bopha that made landfall on the southern island of Mindanao in 2012 and super typhoon Haiyan that hit eastern Philippines particularly Tacloban City and Leyte Province.
Both natural catastrophes displaced thousands, if not millions of people,from their houses. Buildings and roads were damaged. Widespread power and water outages paralyzed and somehow affected disaster operations and relief efforts while hundreds of children were orphaned and hundreds more lost fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and loved ones.
The Children’s Joy Foundation, Inc. (CJFI) in the Philippines heeded to the plea of typhoon survivors, making sure that they will be helped until they can stand on their own. With the financial support from the Children’s Joy Foundation Canada, a duly-registered charity organization in Canada, two projects were implemented that benefited the typhoon survivors. First was the reconstruction of the potable water system in Barangay Kidawa, Laak, Compostela Valley in Mindanao. After 3,000 meters of hose pipes were installed in strategic places in the village, the people were relieved as they do not have to walk long distances just to get clean drinking water for their families. Another project was the construction of a new day care center in Barangay Bislig, Tanauan, Leyte. The said learning facility accommodates three to five years old who are given free learning sessions to prepare them for formal education.
Let’s meet two of the beneficiaries whose lives were touched by people’s generosity through the organization.
Iza, eight, used to walk several kilometers just to get potable water for the family. She would carry two containers at a time and fill a bigger water container at home.
“Kapila ko magbalik-balik para lang mapuno ang sudlanan sa tubig. Pagpadulong, okay pa kay wala pa may sulod. Pero pagpauli na nako, kapoy na kay layo man akong lakwon tapos bug-at pa gyud akong bitbit.(I had to fetch water several times just to fill the
water container at home. Going there (to the water source) was okay, but walking back home with the heavy load was tiresome for me.)” shy Iza said.
With the reconstruction of the water system just within their village, Iza was very happy. She said, “Nalipay gyud ko kaayo kay dili nako maglisod magkuha ug tubig na mainom. Salamat kaayo sa inyong tabang. (I am very happy that it is now easier for me to get drinking water. Thank you so much for your help.)”
Hundreds of families benefited from the project. Aside from saving time and effort, the parents are thankful that their children are safe from diseases caused by contaminated water.
Haiyan severely traumatized tens of thousands of children like Marlyn, six, who saw the massive destruction caused by the typhoon. Months after the devastation, she would cry even with the slightest drizzle and would beg her teacher to let her go home.
The learners in general felt that the makeshift tent where they conducted their classes could easily be blown away anytime.
“ Mahadlok ko pag mag-ulan. Muhilak ko tapos gusto nako muuli. (I was scared every time it rained. I would cry and then I wanted to go home.),” Marlyn shared in a hushed tone.
In early 2014, a new day care center was built in their village in Bislig, Tanauan, Leyte. The project brought hope to the residents as they believed that the concrete building will somehow assure the children that they’re safe.
As for Marlyn, she appreciated the colorful learning center complete with tables and chairs, a lavatory, and washrooms.
“Ganahan nako ato mueskwela kay nindot man ang day care. Kung muulan, dili mi mabasa. Salamat kaayo. (I liked going to school then because it was nice. When it rains we would not get wet. Thank you so much).”
Marlyn completed the day care program last March 2015 despite her bout with meningitis. She is currently a Grade 1 student in the same school where his older brother attends.
The catastrophes may never be forgotten because of the loss and the grief of the survivors. However, the flow of love and compassion toward them through the outreach programs that CJFI and CJF Canada do have brought them hope and strengthened their resilience and resolve to rise again.