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Save the Children New Zealand makes far reaching impact on Filipino school children in central Philippines

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In carrying out its mandate and mission of making a difference for children worldwide, Save the Children New Zealand has responded to the immediate and urgent need to help in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan by sending NZ$79,000 to the local Save the Children office to provide emergency assistance for the Filipino children in the devastated areas and an additional NZ$207,000 to respond to the needs of families affected by the typhoon in Tacloban and Estancia in Panay, Central Philippines. Save the Children New Zealand is committed to the long-term rebuilding of lives and homes and restoration of communities to enable children and their families to have adequate shelter, sanitation, food and livelihoods.

Ms. Heather Hayden, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children New Zealand visited Panay in February and personally saw how the project of rebuilding the Binon-An elementary school in Estancia would be so important and beneficial to the children and teachers who were looking forward to going back to their classrooms and resume their lessons and teaching.She also distributed to each school child a backpack full of stationery, pencils, toothbrushes and raincoats to start the school year. In Ms. Hayden’s words, “Education is a key area that Save the Children NZ focuses on, as it is such an important way to lift children out of poverty and enable them to achieve their potential. Despite a significant number of the classrooms being reduced to rubble by the surge waves, ninety percent of the children are back at school, wanting to keep on learning. I spent time with one of the teachers – a very special woman called Joy, who lost her home, possessions and her classroom in the surge waves that followed the winds. She is completely committed to her class of children and is desperate to have them back in classrooms again. Save the Children has provided temporary learning spaces, but sitting in tents in high temperatures isn’t the best way to get an optimal learning experience. Our funding will be used to repair and rebuild classrooms. “Build Back Better” is the key phrase used here, with a focus on safer and stronger classrooms, further back from the sea.”

During the dinner that Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez hosted at “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Ambassador’s residence) on 28 January 2014 and when she met Ms. Hayden again after her visit to Panay, Ambassador Benavidez reiterated the deep gratitude of the Filipino people for Save the Children New Zealand’s generous support and concrete ways to make a positive and practical difference in the lives of the school children, teachers, families and all those who were greatly affected by typhoon Haiyan. Ms. Hayden shared how she was touched by the resilience and strong spirit of the school children, teachers and parents and said that she would love to go back again to the Philippines where her time in Manila and Estancia were special. She showed the drawing of a 9-year old Jhon who participated in an art therapy session conveying the sense of hope, appreciation and optimism for the relief and rescue and rebuilding of communities. Ambassador Benavidez told Ms. Hayden “Words will not be enough to reiterate our unending thanks to you and Save the Children New Zealand for the time, efforts and resources to help rebuild the school in Panay. Education is the most precious gift you can give to our children. It is a most valuable resource around which they can build a lifetime and the fastest way to recover from the trauma and destruction in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan.” Ms. Hayden stated that “what impressed me most was the determination and adaptability of the children and their families. As we face a world with increasing impacts from climate change, these are the traits that will enable the Philippines to take a prominent place on the world stage in the future.”

The heartwarming video on Save the Children New Zealand’s project in Estancia, Panay can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

Video CEO NZ in Panay at Binon-An school

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