The importance of family to a child’s life during the pandemic

World Vision sponsored child Angelito, 12, was born with cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affects a person’s movement and posture. This has also resulted to difficulty in walking, speech and delay in learning.

Despite his condition, he is a ball of energy to his family. He smiles a lot, he loves to play and he spends most of his time with his siblings.

“We love him so much,” his father 48-year old Rommel, shares. Rommel is a labourer. He works at a construction project, at the market or wherever he is needed, just to provide for his family of seven.

When Angelito started with his special education (SPED) class, Rommel would patiently carry him on his back to bring him to school.

“The first time that I brought him to school, I was overjoyed. I want Angelito to grow up not feeling left out. I love sending him to school and seeing him study and bond with other children,” he shares.

When Angelito became part of World Vision’s child sponsorship programme, he was linked to the social welfare department for a wheelchair. The organisation also helped with his medication.

 

Impact of COVID-19 

The education and economic sectors were not spared from the impact of COVID-19. Angelito’s school had to cut short the classes. The department of education reported that over 28 million learners were affected across the country.

“I miss school. I like playing and drawing and colouring the most,” Angelito shares.

Meanwhile, in a recent World Vision rapid assessment on the impact of COVID-19, results showed that 92% of the household surveyed said that their livelihoods were disrupted. That includes Rommel’s.

Although the family was in a tough situation, Rommel and his wife, Norma, took advantage of the community quarantine to strengthen their bond as a family. They would spend time together, playing and cracking jokes. Angelito especially loves playing with the hand-push wheel toy that his father made. Although he couldn’t stand for a long period of time, he would laugh the most when he plays it with his siblings. The couple also credits their community for helping them look after their family.

“It was a difficult time. I did not have work for two months. But I am grateful to everyone in the community who helped our family cope. I relied heavily on our health centre for Angelito’s medicines. The local government supplied us with foods.”

World Vision’s COVID-19 response in Misamis Occidental also helped the family through provision of food packs and unconditional cash.

“I know that things will be better. I am now back to work. We do not know yet how Angelito or his school would adjust to the pandemic but we will try our best to teach him even while he is at home,” says Rommel.

“Seeing Angelito smile and feeling secured in the presence of his family, especially his father means a lot. These are trying times and it is important that parents are there for their children – to explain to them the situation that they are in, to spend time with them and just be there for them as they cope as a family,” shares Judith Baasa, World Vision staff based in Misamis Occidental.

World Vision also continues to regularly check on Angelito and other children in the area. Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, the organisation, through its strong partnership with the local government and the community leaders, has found ways to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and monitor the well-being of children in places where World Vision is present.