After days of fighting the scorching heat and muddy roads, our team finally reached the Agta community in an island barangay in Casiguran, Aurora—the area where typhoon Lando first made landfall on 18 October 2015. While the team prepares the relief supplies for distribution, I saw a group of children seated on chairs in the middle of a damaged pavement. I was curious at what they were doing so I approached them.
As I drew nearer, I saw pieces of roof all over the ground, a table set on a muddy patch of grassland, and books soiled and scattered everywhere. And as I moved closer to the children, I finally realized that I was standing in what used to be a community school.
When I said hello, shy eyes stared back at me. Suddenly, my attention was caught by the book that they were reading—it is a grade school English book that they were all reading together. I couldn’t help but feel mixed emotions upon such sight, because it is always amusing for me to see children like them enjoying reading, but not in a situation like this—under a roofless and wall-less classroom.
What further broke my heart was their response when I asked them why they were opting to stay under a shadeless coconut tree. Altogether, they replied: “Because we miss going to school.”
If not for Typhoon Lando, these children would have been in school today. Typhoon Lando has flattened hundreds of houses in Casiguran, Aurora, and some community facilities such as schools and classrooms severely damaged—leaving children and their families without access to quality education.
These children need immediate assistance to help them recover from this calamity. Among others, they need temporary learning spaces and basic school materials, so that their classes could resume at the soonest possible time.
These children need us in situations like this—they need you. Help us bring the needed assistance to them.
Jerome Balinton is the Emergency Communications Officer of Save the Children. He is currently deployed in Casiguran, Aurora as part of the organization’s humanitarian response.
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