A rising hope after the fire
By Ma. Lisbet Esmael, World Vision Communications Intern
Thousands of families in Malabon became homeless after a fatal fire ravaged their houses on February 8, 2017, but survivors manage to remain strong and positive through the help of the government and NGOs, like World Vision.
Sitting in the corner of the evacuation centre, she was folding her children’s clothes when World Vision approached her. She greeted with a spirited smile, as if no tragedy had just happened. But the anguish eventually radiated in her eyes and words as we talked about the disaster. “The only thing we saved during the fire was a sack of clothes. It left us with almost no hope,” she said, trying to hold her tears.
Her name is Susanette. She is 40 years old. And she is the loving mother of Justine and three other children.
In her own words, Susanette described the horror they had experienced minutes before the fire reached and destroyed their house. “My husband and I just got home since we spent the day trying to fix his jeepney. We were there for just five minutes when people started panicking and shouting ‘There’s a fire!'”
Holding both of her hands, Susanette was still overwhelmed with the memories of the fire. She continued, “We hurriedly gathered our children, grabbed the things we could save and ran for safety.”
Living in the area for 10 years, Susanette’s family now endures the crowded space of the multifunctional hall. Sometimes, her youngest child asks her if they can go home already but Susanette always answers him with the truth. “I always tell him that we no longer have a house because the fire burned it down and that we have to stay here for the meantime.”
Susanette knows her children are also disheartened by what happened, but as the light of the family, she has to be strong to encourage her children not to stay in despair. She added, “I am thankful for the program of World Vision (Child Friendly Space) for the children because they can play, have some fun, and move on from the tragedy we had. Justine and her younger brother were always excited to tell me the activities they had. Joining the said program of World Vision, letting them laugh to ease the pain they have–it really provided hope for these kids. And as a parent, I am relieved for that.”
As the fire destroyed all their properties, Susanette’s family together with other families in the evacuation centre has no choice but to look for possible part-time jobs for a little income and to wait for some help from the barangay, DSWD, and NGOs.
“I am really thankful to those who have hearts to help us get back on our feet, especially World Vision. They’ve been very supportive to our community–I actually have a son who is now a sponsored child of the said organization.”
Despite of what happened, Susanette has remained faithful to the Lord and optimistic for her family’s future. “I keep on praying to God to continue to guide us and to give us more strength to surpass these obstacles. For me, what’s more important now is the fact that we are complete, none of my children were hurt during the fire.”World Vision/February 23, 2017