Home / News / Previous emergency appeals / Typhoon Haiyan 2013-14 / Long-term support for families in the Philippines

Long-term support for families in the Philippines

Children can laugh again thanks to our team in Tacloban
Children can laugh again thanks to our team in Tacloban

When the storm surge created by Typhoon Haiyan swept through Tacloban, eight-year-old Maria survived by clinging to the roof her home. As she struggled against the waves, she watched helplessly as her mother drowned. Maria is one of 2,000 children we are caring for in seven child-friendly spaces in the Philippines.

Maria's story is an incredible one. Despite all she has been through, she is once again able to laugh thanks to the hard work and devotion of our team in the hard-hit city of Tacloban. At our child-friendly space in the city's People's Centre, she and children like her enjoy a range of activities, from storytelling and drawing to games and sports.

Helping children cope with trauma

By monitoring children's engagement in these activities, we are able to see how they are progressing and tailor support to their individual needs. Fun and games act as therapy, too; helping children escape from the terrible conditions in which they are forced to live. For children who have endured traumatic events, this is a rare chance to enjoy time with others their own age and begin to regain their childhood.

Child-friendly space in Tacloban TPA 68376
Children enjoy fun and games at our child-friendly space in Bisleg, near Tacloban

This is just one of seven child-friendly spaces around Tacloban and the surrounding area. The widespread destruction left by Typhoon Haiyan means that less than half of all children in the city are able to attend school. Many have lost their homes and families and are surrounded every day by the chaos left by the storm. Our child-friendly spaces provide a place of refuge amid the horrors of natural disaster; bringing a sense of normality to children living in this devastated city.

Rebuilding homes and livelihoods

Today, our focus is on the future for communities in and around Tacloban. On those families who  have lost their homes and livelihoods and need our help to get back on their feet. Over the coming three years, we will provide 1,000 families with the support they need to remain independent.

We are providing:

  • Building materials and expertise to help 650 families reconstruct their their homes in the small community of Palanog on the outskirts of Tacloban.
  • Bisleg beach near Tacloban TPA 68363
    Despite the destruction, children in Bisleg are beginning to enjoy their childhood again
    Support in the communities of Palanog and Tigbao, where we are rebuilding two schools and providing books and resources to help children learn.
  • Essential equipment to the fishing communities of Bisleg and Magay, near Tacloban, where boats, fishing nets, engines and motors were destroyed. We will supply all of these items so that fishermen can feed their families again.

We always try to keep families together, but as the scale of loss becomes clearer, we will provide homes for children left alone by Typhoon Haiyan. With nearly half a century of local knowledge, we are well placed to offer a loving family to children with no one else to care for them.

SOS Children has been caring for the most vulnerable children in the Philippines for almost five decades. From Bataan and Manila in the north, to Davao in the south, we provide a loving family to children in eight locations across the country. Find out more about our long-term work in the Philippines.