At the early age of 11, Princess is already helping other children know the importance of being informed, prepared, and resilient during calamities.
“After a disaster, we should first clean our houses and surroundings, so that the children will not be hurt by any sharp object.” This is the response of Princess when asked what she thinks should be done after typhoons, calamities and other disasters.
As one of the 200 students trained on disaster resilience and response, it is no surprise that 11-year-old Princess replied to this question with confidence. Her knowledge on emergency response and disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been developed through her participation in Save the Children’s educational and training sessions.
When asked what she learned from the different sessions she attended, Princess said, “I learned a lot. I learned how to do first aid, how to properly wash my hands, and what I should and should not do before, during, and after typhoons, earthquakes, and flood.”
The different activities and sessions that Princess took part in were all designed to capacitate school children into becoming peer facilitators who will be able to share relevant information on DRR among their fellow children. In addition to this, she recently attended a three-day DRR and Resilience Camp, where she and the rest of her fellow peer facilitators gathered to share information and knowledge on DRR.
Princess’ mother, Maxima, expressed how proud she is of her daughter, who does not only actively engage in relevant extracurricular activities such as this, but also excels in school. She said, “Princess is a real achiever. Even when she was still in kindergarten, she would always be picked by her teacher to represent their class. So, when she joined the trainings and seminars on DRR, we were very happy, and we supported her because we know that the knowledge she will gain from those activities will be very helpful, not just for her, but also for other people in our community.”
Princess aspires to become a teacher, like her father, someday. This is why she enjoys the experience of sharing the lessons she learned from the trainings she attended. She said, “I share what I learned from the activities, so that they (other children), too, will know the new things that I now know.”
Princess’ family is among those severely affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Now, more than two years after the calamity, they are back on their feet trying to live a normal life.
Having experienced the disaster first hand, Princess’ mother is appreciative of how DRR and resilience education sessions would help people—especially the children—in their community.
She said, “It is good that Save the Children is doing this. I hope that this seminars and trainings will continue in the future so that other children, not just Princess, will be able to learn and understand how harmful and dangerous calamities are. This will also help us be more informed on new things that will be beneficial for us in times of emergencies, because we don’t always foresee when and where a big calamity would strike next, it is always better to be prepared.”
Save the Children has been working in the province of Iloilo since 2013, immediately after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Through the funding of Prudence Foundation, Save the Children has trained a total of 200 school children on basic knowledge about disaster risk reduction and resilience. All these children are now aptly equipped to share their knowledge with their fellow children, to help them have a better understanding of the different DRR concepts and the importance of disaster preparedness at such an early age.