From being an at-risk child, 15-year-old Dawny became a steadfast advocate for hope, disaster preparedness, and children’s rights. Having experienced abuse, she remains determined to help fellow children live the life they deserve.
“Going through something that shouldn’t have been experienced by a child like me, I learned to see things in a more positive way. Save the Children Philippines’ programs on local disaster risk reduction in our province helped me and I was happy to be part of their campaigns. I have participated in different programs and deeply immersed myself with meaningful actions and ideologies,” shared Dawny.
Being a member of the Children's Core Group in her community enabled Dawny to participate in conducting a social accountability survey on child-friendly education in emergencies from their fellow children. Through this, they have gathered valuable insights on how to further improve disaster risk response to children and women which helped their local government revisit and realign their existing policies. The programs promoting quality response for children during emergencies in the province were made possible through the support of the European Union.
“My involvement in the trainings and workshops helped shed a light on disaster risk reduction particularly on women and child rights. At a young age, my eyes have been opened to the current dilemmas in the community,” shared Dawny as she recalled trainings and workshops conducted by Save the Children to different communities.
"There are policies on disaster response that just stay on papers and could be implemented better. Programs being rolled-out by non-government organizations serve as a refresher to revisit these policies and empower us to take part in the implementation. An example is how we are influencing other children in our barangay to take part in small initiatives in disaster preparedness like the use of Go Bags, an emergency kit for every family. This may seem like a small act but is actually a huge help in times of calamities like storm surge in which our barangay is highly vulnerable of,” Dawny added.
As a child, she is able to contribute to efforts that keep her community safe. Children should be involved in disaster risk reduction and resilience development as they are one of the key stakeholders. Community development and preparation for handling leadership roles in the society must start at an early age, giving children the opportunity to understand how to work in solidarity with other members of the community.
By becoming part of these activities, Dawny has been empowered to focus on her transformation in becoming an advocate for various causes she believes in. “I once that ‘transformation is your ticket out of the valley’ and this has motivated me in helping myself, my family, and my community,” said Dawny.
With the advocacies being rolled-out by Save the Children Philippines and the continuous support of the European Union, a wider path is paved for helping high-risk communities in the Philippines in reinforcing the local disaster risk mechanisms to be more optimized for both children and women. Children in these communities harness their understanding and acknowledgment of crucial issues to come up with ways that can help them become part of the solution.