We have been working in the Philippines since the 1960s and in Tacloban since 1970. Here SOS Children have provided support to families in need and care to children and young people who have lost parental care.
In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the area, leaving hundreds of thousands in urgent need of shelter, food, safe drinking water, and medical care.
Tacloban is on the island of Leyte, and the second location where SOS Children began working in the Philippines. Our Children's Village is about four kilometres from the Tacloban city centre in Milagrosa. Tacloban is one of the largest cities in the region, with an important port and an administrative, economic and cultural centre.
Before Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban, about 9% of the population was poor. However, local experts believed the actual figure to be higher. After the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the situation is undoubtedly much worse.
In past decades, many have moved from rural areas to the city in search of better opportunities. However, many end up joining the thousands of urban poor who are living in slum-like conditions. They lack clean water, infrastructure or electricity, and access to social services such as health care and education are limited.
Families living in these conditions were already vulnerable. Their vulnerability meant that they were the hardest hit by the 2013 typhoon. Those who survived are in dire need of essentials, such as shelter, food and medicine.
Supporting parents so that they can care for the next generation
We have been present in Tacloban for over four decades. During this time, we have become well known and respected among the local population. We also work closely with other local organisations who are responsible for protecting the rights of children. Our family support programmes help families in need by giving them food, and granting scholarships to children so that they can go to school.
When Typhoon Haiyan hit, our well-established network allowed SOS Children to provide swift support to people in desperate need.
How we have helped families in Tacloban
Since 1970, SOS Children has been supporting the local community in Tacloban in various ways. Our family support programmes assist families to stay together and provide care and opportunities for their children. For example, we give nutritional, educational and health support. This work involves working with local authorities. When required, we also provide counselling and parenting workshops. The SOS Social Centre in Tacloban administers essential medical treatment.
At SOS Children's Village Tacloban, children who could no longer live with their families were cared for in an SOS family home. Here they were looked after by an SOS Mother, lived with their SOS brother and sisters, and received quality education and healthcare. However, after the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the Village had to evacuated.
Life after Typhoon Haiyan
The Typhoon that hit the island of Leyte devastated all in it's path. Immediately afterwards SOS Children provided urgent assistance to the many families who had lost everything.
Fortunately, the twelve SOS families from SOS Children's Village Tacloban survived Typhoon Haiyan, but they lost all of their belongings and had to leave their homes. The SOS families are now safely living in SOS Children's Village Calbayog. The children in our care are offered special support according to their needs, especially at difficult times like these.
We also run an SOS Youth Programme in Tacloban, which supports young people as they make their steps towards independence. They are supported to complete vocational courses, attend higher education and look for work.
For many children, life will never be the same after Typhoon Haiyan. Together, we can ensure children in Tacloban receive the care and support they need to move on and have a healthy childhood. Will you sponsor a child in Tacloban today?