Joyice

Making child protection a priority when disaster strikes

Today’s world is volatile, with disasters linked to conflict and climate change happening all too often.  Each time, children are amongst the most vulnerable.

When Typhoon Haiyan hit her village in the Philippines, Joyice’s father moved her up on to the roof to escape the huge waves that came.

The storm tore the roof in two, but thankfully Joyice and her family clung on and survived.

She remembers with horror the bodies of those killed in the storm, and the corpses torn up from the cemetery by the force of the water.

When the storm hit, Viva’s partner network of local churches was already known and trusted in communities across the hardest hit regions. They were able to respond quickly with food, shelter and leadership in the chaotic aftermath.

The strengths of Viva’s approach are multiple. The network was there on the ground before any relief agency arrived. As specialists in working with children they knew how to focus support on the most vulnerable – and they are there for the long term.

So when, six months after the storm, it became clear that one in three children had not returned to school, they found out why and did something about it. It helped parents get new books and uniforms, and support their children to restart their education.

Children like Joyice have also been helped to recover from trauma through the provision of psychological support – through creative five-day camps where, amongst the games and songs, children are able to talk through their memories and fears and learn how to be resilient for the future and all that it may hold.

Viva’s big dream in the Philippines is to see children who are resilient and able to recover from natural disaster.

Further reading on ways to help children who have survived disaster can be found in UNICEF’s ‘Psychosocial support of children in emergencies’ report. You can learn more about the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on children in the Philippines in the joint-agency report ‘After Yolanda [known internationally as Haiyan]: What Children Think, Need and Recommend’.