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Recovering from Typhoon Haiyan

Jay Kain was afraid to go to school due to the scenes he witnessed there when Typhoon Haiyan struck. A year on, he feels ready to study again.
Jay Kain was afraid to go to school due to the scenes he witnessed there when Typhoon Haiyan struck. A year on, he feels ready to study again.

For eight months, six-year-old Jay Kian didn't go to school - missing almost an entire academic year. He stayed away due to traumatic memories of Typhoon Haiyan which killed many of his school friends. A year after the typhoon struck, Jay Kian now feels ready to go to class again - an example of the resilience and recovery repeated across the Philippines.

"It was horrifying"

A year ago, Jay Kian and his mother ran to his school to seek shelter from the typhoon. Yet the sanctuary they had hoped to find was instead a scene from a nightmare. 

"Children were being spun round and round. It was horrifying" says Jean Solva, Jay Kian's mother. "Some of the children were shouting ‘Mama, mama!’ and then the shouts were no more. They died one by one. It was worse because we knew some of those children; they were neighbours, and some of them were Jay Kian’s classmates."

Jay Kian withdrew after the tragedy and avoided the school. He couldn't forget the images of his friends and classmates dying in front of him. "I talked to him a lot, and there were times when I couldn’t help but cry," says Jean. 

A future for Jay Kian

A couple of months ago, Jay Kian said, "Mama, I'm okay. I want to study". The passing of time, and much support from his family, allowed Jay Kian to recover from his trauma and return to school.

"It was such a relief. And I have no words for how happy that made me," says Jean. “I want my children to finish school because I don't want them to end up like me - I'm poor. I’m a single mother. I have no future. I want my children to have a future.” 

SOS Children is working in Jay Kian's community to rebuild what Typhoon Haiyan destroyed on 8 November 2013. Alongside local organisations, we are supporting families in the worst-hit areas to regain their livelihoods and care for their children. 

Discover the key facts and figures about the 1-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan:

Typhoon Haiyan 1 year anniversary infographic

SOS promises to rebuild destroyed schools

A key part of our recovery work is making sure children receive a quality education - something the typhoon severely disrupted in many regions of the Philippines.  

SOS School in Philippines
This school was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan, and now has no walls
and a tarpaulin roof. SOS Children has promised to rebuild the school.

In the mountainous town of Palanog, 40 students have to huddle around eight textbooks. They study in a classroom with no doors or walls, and a roof made out of tarpaulin. This is the state of their school after Typhoon Hayan destroyed most of it.

“Everything about it is challenging,” says Emily Abeto, a teacher in the school. “It’s not easy being a teacher; but having no classrooms and no books to teach with makes it very, very difficult.” 

“Palanog is an overlooked town, probably because we’re located high up in the mountains and there were no casualties reported here … but this doesn’t mean we - or more importantly our children - weren’t affected,” says the teacher.

As part of our recovery efforts in the region, SOS Children will rebuild and reconstruct the Palanog School. By early next year it is expected that 12 classrooms will be completed.

“We’re thankful to SOS. And we can’t wait to have our school back.”

Discover how we are supporting Asela to care for her five grandchildren, who were orphaned by the typhoon.

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