Sep 24, 2015
By Valerie Massie
There are giggles and fits. Balls bouncing, toy cars racing, and bubbles floating. Young children are singing out and counting their one, two, threes. A preschool teacher is demonstrating a hoola hoop dance.
These are the sights and sounds in a child friendly space established in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan
“When they (children) arrived a few months ago, they looked shocked. They watched their houses fall down and their schools get destroyed. Their faces were hopeless,” says Annie Rose Labra, a child friendly space facilitator. “Children have returned to normal, they’re happy again.”
Mothers stand in the doorway of the centre, wearing gentle smiles, watching the action unfold.
“It was really devastating. The rain and the wind was so strong – you couldn’t see anything. The safest place was only the chapel, all the houses around broke into pieces. The children saw a lot. After the storm, my daughter was so scared and was crying a lot,” says 26-year-old Lanny, a mother of two.
A lot of progress has been made since then. Water sites have been reopened, power is partially restored, the markets have returned to life, debris has been cleared from roads, and farmers have returned to the fields.
Just as significantly, children are rebounding as well, thanks in part to World Vision’s child friendly spaces that help address the psychological impact of Typhoon Haiyan through play and a series of de-stressing activities.
“Even now, every time it rains my children get scared and think the houses might break into pieces. It was really hard on them,” Lanny says. “But they are slowly recovering. Here, they are able to play again, they can be children again.”
In total, more than 17,500 children in the area have benefitted from the child-focused centres.
“Their smiles have returned, they’re excited once again and they have remembered how to play,” Annie Rose concludes.
Visit worldvision.ca today or call 1-800-268-3922.