World Vision provides safe spaces for young survivors of Malabon Fire
By Ma. Lisbet K. Esmael, World Vision Communications Intern
In a span of eight hours, dreams and hopes of more than 9,000 people in Malabon were burnt into ashes as fire razed the poor community, leaving them in a hapless state, doubting the possibility of ever finding solutions to get out of that dark phase of life.
But World Vision has found a way to help these children cope up with this traumatic experience.
“World Vision is here to provide assistance and support to the affected children of disasters. We have this program called Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) which helps them cope with distress by allowing them to play and by keeping them busy with different activities. This unfortunate event in Malabon last February 10 really pushed us to help them move on,” explained Florinor Algo, Luzon Child Protection and Participation Specialist.
She added, “These children, despite their happy appearances, have stories to tell. That’s why CFS provides them with an avenue to express and ease their pain.”
A sense of relief
“I really feel their care and love for us.” This was the strong statement of an 8-year-old fire survivor when asked about the World Vision’s program in their area.
His name is Justine, a grade three student who still struggles to omit from his mind the depressing scenarios of the huge fire that changed their lives. Recounting that day, Justine shared: “I cried and felt scared after seeing the massive smoke forming behind our school. Luckily, I attended classes during that time, but I still panicked and worried about the safety of my parents and siblings.”
The sadness in Justine’s eyes was evident while he recounted his story–he was confused and in despair. “I feel sad because the fire destroyed all of our properties. I don’t know if we can still surpass this.”
Nevertheless, no matter how dreadful the situation now, his father, a jeepney driver, and his mom, a former OFW, try their best to rebuild the security of their children’s future. But, since the incident only happened just last week, starting from scratch is not easy–assistance from the government and NGOs is still needed.
World Vision’s readiness to provide help to these families, especially for the children, gives a positive impact on their lives. Proving this, Justine and his friends are excited to participate in every CFS activity.
He shared to us his favorite parts of the program–drawing and singing praises to God. Asked what his prayers are, Justine timidly smiled and answered, “I just want to start anew–with a house, clothes, and food to survive each day. Also, for my family to forget this.”
With the help of World Vision staff and his family, Justine manages to stay positive and to keep his dream alive. “I want to be a policeman to help others in danger and to give assistance to whoever needs support.”
Aside from psychosocial intervention, World Vision will also distribute sleeping mats, mosquito nets and blankets to 1,500 families. With the help of Procter & Gamble, toothbrush and liquid soaps will also be provided.World Vision/February 17, 2017