Damaged School in Philippines Restored by Generosity from Around the World
CBN.com —With winds of 195mph Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed nearly every building in Pagnamitan, a community in the Philippines. It wrecked homes, businesses, and the area's only school. A village leader told us about the panic in the days following the storm. Teresita Ebin said that there was "chaos everywhere" and that people were fleeing from the village because of the hopelessness that the felt. She wondered with them whether the community would survive.
But one pastor believed that something good was going to come from the disaster.
Pastor Danilo Colandog – community pastor
"I was crying out to God," said Pastor Danilo Colandog. "I was praying at the top of my voice, not to blame [God] but I said…Lord, I believe I will see the work of Your hands move in our village."
In those first few days after the typhoon, their needs were immediate. So CBN's Operation Blessing office in Manila quickly sent teams with emergency food, water and medical care.
Then community leaders were faced with the daunting task of rebuilding nearly every home there. They also wanted to repair the children's school, but they knew that houses were their top priority. Again, Operation Blessing stepped in and provided building supplies to repair and rebuild homes for one hundred twenty four families hardest hit by the storm. We built new boats so members of the fishing community could get back to work. And we provided grants to widows, single moms and other women to help them restart their small businesses.
But the funds to repair the children's school were not yet available. Rey Baililo, 12, was a student there and saw what the typhoon had done to the school building.
"The roof was gone," he said. "The books were scattered all over the floor."
Anxious to get their kids back to school, the community covered the opening of the missing roof with tarps until a more permanent solution could be found. But the tarps didn't last.
"The strong wind and rain tore a hole in them," Rey recalled. "The wind was so noisy and the rain came down through the tarp. Our teacher could not write on the blackboard because the rain made it wet. We had to move from one side of the room to the other to stay dry."
In one photo, we saw Rey's teacher wearing a raincoat and hood during class. Others used umbrellas inside the classroom to stay dry.
According to Rey's mother Anita, some of the children started getting sick with colds and fevers.
And it looked like the damaged school roof would remain damaged until the London based Guardian Media Group gave a large gift to Operation Blessing Philippines. With those funds we moved the children into a temporary "tent" classroom and begin repairs on the school building.
In record time we put on a new roof and the children and their teachers were able to stay dry for the first time in 7 months.
"I feel good inside our new classroom," Rey told us. "I can concentrate in class, the roof doesn't leak anymore and we can just the windows when it's raining."
And there was enough money left over from the Guardian Grant for Operation Blessing to rebuild a health clinic and daycare center in the community!
"I thank Operation Blessing and all the sponsors who helped us," said Rey's mother.
"Through your help you have given us hope! Because of what you have done, we will never forget you, added Pastor Danilo.
"Thank you so much to everyone who helped us. I hope you can help many more people too," finished Rey with a smile.
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