Rebuilding Nalah’s House

By Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Communications Specialist   |   Photos by Babylene Bocayes and Hope Center staff

When Typhoon Phanfone destroyed Nalah’s house in the Philippines, it was one sad Christmas for her. But with the help of Child Champions at her Hope Center, relief was on the way.

On Christmas Eve 2019, Typhoon Phanfone hit the province of Cebu in the Philippines and displaced around 10,000 families. Many of them celebrated Christmas at evacuation sites because the typhoon destroyed their homes.

They also lost the boats they used for livelihood, their personal belongings, and their children’s school supplies. Child Champions from Life-Changing Hope Center were the first to report at the nonprofit OneChild that 58 children in their program were affected by this typhoon.

The advantage of living in the same community made it easy for Hope Center director, Pastor Simmar Dacumos, to check on the children right after the typhoon and start to coordinate relief. In total, nearly 500 children in six Hope Centers in the Philippines were affected by Typhoon Phanfone.

One of the most severely damaged houses was Nalah’s home. Nalah, 7, is part of OneChild’s program in Cebu. Nalah’s mother, Lolita, describes what happened the night of the typhoon: “We were advised to evacuate early. So, at 8 p.m. we left the house. And when we came back the following day, there was nothing left for us to use anymore.”

Jomar, Nalah’s father, lost income for a few days because his pedicab (a bicycle with a sidecar used for short-distance commutes) was also damaged. “I just replaced the damaged tires with an old one so I can get back to work,” he says.

Disaster relief is among the many ways OneChild centers aid and provide hope to families living in poverty. Life-Changing Hope Center and the local government were quick to provide affected families with rice, noodles, canned goods, and other relief supplies. For months, Nalah’s family of seven crowded into a relative’s house.

The pandemic did not hinder the Child Champions in Life-Changing Hope Center from helping Nalah’s family rebuild their house. The Hope Center bought wood, cement, nails, and galvanized sheets, and Child Champions pitched in to help with the construction. Nine months after the devastation of Typhoon Phanfone, Nalah’s house was finally rebuilt!

“I would really like to thank OneChild for their support in rebuilding our house and would also like to thank our living God for this house,” Lolita says.

Child Champions in OneChild only desire for all children living in poverty to be well and safe. Knowing that Nalah now has a new house is something that Child Champions are celebrating. Rhea Juson, OneChild’s program and partnership facilitator for Cebu, helped coordinate this rehabilitation program. She says, “I am overwhelmed with joy in my heart knowing that Nalah’s house is rebuilt. Nalah is now safe and happy!”

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