Stories

Vee still cries every day over the loss of her son and grandson after a flood destroyed their village in southern Laos in July 2018.

While her five-year-old grandson’s body has since been recovered, the mother of seven is still mourning the absence of her son, whom she last saw drifting in the water with her grandson.

“It has been a terrible nightmare,” Vee says. “I think about my son and my grandson every day. I cry and I can’t sleep, because when I close my eyes I see terrible images in my mind.”

It was about 9 or 10pm when water first began creeping into the house, Vee remembers.

She thought the water wouldn’t reach the second floor but it continued to rise, forcing Vee and her family to flee the house.

They piled into an old boat and hung onto a tree, when the power in the village suddenly cut off. “There was a lot of noise and people began shouting very loudly,” Vee says.

Parts of homes and people’s possessions floated all around them. Suddenly, a large log smashed into the boat, hitting her daughter’s face and knocking her grandson into the water. “My son jumped out of the boat to save him,” Vee says. “He carried my grandson up to the surface and both of them were floating.

“That was the last I saw of them.”

Every child needs a childhood, but when emergency strikes children can lose everything.

The recent combined earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia destroyed homes and schools, leaving 206,494 with nowhere to live and 46,000 children in urgent need of assistance.

Ten-year-old Maya is living with her mother in a displacement camp. At first, the children there had no toys to play with and nowhere to go to school.

Maya wanted to go home to look for something to play with in the debris, but her family was too afraid of further collapses.

Since ChildFund supported the construction of Child-Centered Spaces in the camp, Maya can’t wait to go there to see the tutors and meet with her friends.

“I am happy that now there is a place for children near our camp, where I can meet with other friends and play with hand puppets,” she said.

“My favourite hand puppet is the purple pony, it is so cute.”