In a major disaster, like Typhoon Haiyan, there are two stages to our emergency response. First is the relief phase, which is about immediate needs for children and their families – food, clean water, essential non-food items and shelter. When I arrived in the Philippines, in early January, ChildFund had been helping with relief needs for almost two months. My role, with three others, was to develop ChildFund’s recovery strategy – the second stage of our response. This phase is long term. ChildFund will be helping to rebuild the lives of families who have lost everything.
We are working on initial solutions to help people, like providing seeds to grow vegetables or small boats for fishing. We will also be providing vocational and job training for young people and parents, and helping to connect them with the business sector to support them to regain and develop their livelihoods.
Livelihoods recovery is very much related to the community and what suits them. Currently, there are thousands of people in the Philippines trying to fix and rebuild their damaged homes – we see this as an opportunity to generate an income, especially for young people, as this will be a very long process.
Children are going back to school but many schools, especially in Tacloban, are still damaged. Lots of classrooms were destroyed so teachers are using makeshift learning spaces. To help kids return to school we are using our Child-Centred Spaces (CCS) as temporary classrooms.