Stories of building back better after Yolanda, told by ADB Consultants & Partners

Monday, June 1, 2015

Young Survivors Graduate from School after Typhoon Yolanda | Asian Development Bank

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Here's an interesting photo-essay from the ADB website (click the link):
Young Survivors Graduate from School after Typhoon Yolanda | Asian Development Bank:

  • The reconstruction of Bislig’s Elementary School and the entire province of Leyte continues. But, as Honeylette’s story shows, the path to a bright, successful future is set.
  • Teachers, students and their families gather in the village of Bislig in the Philippine province of Leyte for the 63rd graduation ceremony of the local elementary school. Scenes like this one are common all over the country on what is known as graduation day.
  • In Leyte province, the 2015 graduation ceremony has a special significance: this is the first class to graduate after Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the Central Philippines on 8 November 2013.
  • Honeylette Molina, 13, is one of the children graduating in Bislig. She was with her father and mother on the day the Typhoon struck in 2013, and they all barely escaped with their lives.
  • The local school was devastated. For months, Honeylette and her classmates were taught in makeshift classrooms in tents, sitting in chairs and desks salvaged from the site, with no access to proper toilets or wash areas.
  • Today, Honeylette is graduating at the top of her class. She was chosen to deliver the valedictory at the graduation ceremony, which is considered to be a great honor.
  • The school has no facility to host the graduation ceremony so the local church is serving as the venue for the event. A total of 60 children, 28 boys and 32 girls, are graduating in the class of 2014-15.
  • A proud moment to be a parent. Arlette Molina walks her daughter Honeylette down the aisle to receive the school’s awards.
  • All students in the honor group will move on to high school. But the other students may not be so lucky. Those from poor families cannot afford to go to high school even if it’s tuition-free because of other costs, such as fares and books.
  • The 2014/15 graduating class is a visible sign of progress for all those in the community who worked to recover from Typhoon Yolanda. “We will never forget the difficult experience of Yolanda, but we never give up,” says school principal Wilma Bayaya.
  • For the school, having solid, spacious classrooms rebuilt with support from the ADB-administered Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction was a turning point. For Honeylette and her friends, clearly this made all the difference. Their success shows that difficult situations can be turned around for the better.
  • The reconstruction of Bislig’s Elementary School and the entire province of Leyte continues. But, as Honeylette’s story shows, the path to a bright, successful future is set.
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Bislig Elementary School in the Philippines’ province of Leyte begins another school year today. Badly damaged by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, the school is well on its way to full recovery, having graduated its first class after the disaster in March 2015.The story of young survivor Honeylette Molina, who finished at the top of the class, demonstrates that natural catastrophes can take lives, destroy buildings and livelihoods, but these cannot break the human spirit and the desire to succeed.

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