Latha Caleb, Save the Children country director, Philippines
Oct. 4, 2009 Manila, Philippines
The wait is over…. Typhoon
On her return from the field Gia Chu, our communications manager, shared her experience with me:
I joined our team today to distribute another batch of relief items for affected families of Typhoon Ketsana in Muntinlupa. Every time I see children with their parents gather around to receive relief kits from Save the Children, I cannot help but ask myself how these children are feeling and are coping amidst this very difficult time.
Children come up to me as I walk around the evacuation centers, eager to tell me their stories. I learned that one child rescued his younger siblings during the storm and looked after them because his parents were away. Another boy told me that he didn’t feel scared at all because his father was beside him. Two girls from an evacuation center in Cainta told me how they missed their homes and the things they lost in the flood. But all of them were very concerned about their parents who are fighting to make ends meet more than ever.
Children are resilient, sometimes even more than adults. In spite of everything that has happened to them, they are still able to laugh, sing, dance and play. Most of them can’t wait to go back to school to learn. Some take care of their younger siblings as a way to help their parents. Others help clean up their damaged houses, and collect scrap metal to sell and earn money to buy food for their family.
We need to be more like these children. There’s so much to be done, and we cannot waste time. Let’s continue working together to give children what they deserve—a world that fights for children’s survival, a world that protects them, a world that prioritizes their well-being and development, and a world that listens to them.
I can sense and feel what Gia is saying… I get back to pounding the keyboard on my computer and then I hear someone saying with excitement that one of the donors we approached has asked us for a full proposal. This means we are reasonably assured of getting some resources … this makes me feel good … only briefly…. Yes, we will be able to reach out to a few hundred children with this money. But there are thousands more waiting for our help … we need to keep working until we have reached every last child who needs our support.