It was a sad twist of fate that the day the Taal volcano erupted was also the feast day in Daniella's barangay (village). Instead of celebrating, she and her family had to flee their home immediately. They evacuated to her aunt's place several towns away, and were only able to return more than a month later.
"It's painful to see all the damaged houses when we came back here," said Daniella. Their own home was not spared. Heavy ash from the volcano caused the roof to collapse, and their belongings were buried under the ash fall.
Since then, Daniella, her parents, and her three siblings have been living in a makeshift shack beside their home while they save up enough money to complete the necessary repairs to their house.
Just about a month after returning to their home, Daniella and her family are faced with another challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, her father, a construction worker, cannot get as much work as he used to because of quarantine restrictions, creating a problem for the family financially. They had to rely mostly on dole outs from the local government.
The situation has since become slightly better, and Daniella's father now gets more work than when the quarantine started. In just a matter of days, Daniella will be going back to school, but under a new distance learning program that will let students stay at home instead of physically going to school. "I think it will be a challenge because our parents will serve as our teachers," she said. "But I will still accept it because it is still part of learning."
Though there will be no teacher in front of her or classmates around her, Daniella is still determined to continue with her studies, with the hope that they will all be reunited one day.
To help students who were affected by the Taal volcano eruption, Save the Children provided back-to-school kits so that they can continue their studies even if their learning materials were lost or damaged. "I'm thankful for receiving this," said Daniella, adding that they will be useful even under the distance learning setup. "I'm thankful that there are still people who provide help even if they are also affected by the pandemic. I hope this pandemic goes away soon."
Daniella has no particular dreams about what she wants to do after completing here studies, but would rather focus more on how she can help her family.
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