After Typhoon Haiyan, a Single Mother Bounces Back for the Sake of her Children

After Typhoon Haiyan, a Single Mother Bounces Back for the Sake of her Children

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Posted
3/31/14

Juliet Inisa, 44, is a single mother of three children ages 13, five and two. Since her partner left, she had to work hard on her own to provide for her kids. 

Juliet used to cook local delicacies like sticky rice and sell to school children, usually waking up as early as 2 a.m. for all the preparations. Juliet earned about 100 pesos (or barely USD 2.50) daily for her efforts. To augment her income, she also raised pigs and chickens in her backyard.

Being a single mother was tough, but things became even harder when super typhoon Haiyan ravaged their town in the Panay Islands in the Philippines on November 8 last year. 

Juliet’s home was badly damaged. Her roof was blown off. The walls were torn apart. 

Even her tools for livelihood, pots and pans, were destroyed, leaving her without income for a month. 

She also had to bring her children to seek temporary shelter in a nearby school. Juliet and her three children slept on the school’s stairs, using only torn boxes and old floor mats to protect their backs. 

They stayed in such condition for more than two weeks until Juliet led the construction of a makeshift shelter with the help of kind neighbours. 

She salvaged whatever material she could find in order to save money – sparing nothing, not even bended nails which she tried to straighten to use again.

Still, water leaks in her makeshift house, making it uncomfortable and unsafe for her children. They regularly get coughs and colds.  

But Juliet is determined to bounce back from Haiyan’s blows, for the sake of her children. She borrowed money to restart her livelihood of cooking and selling delicacies. 

She added more items to the food she peddles including sweet potatoes and shrimp paste. She went back to earning roughly USD 2.50 a day.

With her sights set on rebuilding a safer home for her kids, she knew she needed to earn more. To achieve this, Juliet had no qualms taking on an extra job traditionally left to the men: drying rice grains on the streets. Once dried, she would place the grains on sacks and carry them to the owner’s home. 

Her efforts earned her an extra USD 2.50 dollars a day. Sometimes she would exchange her hard labour for free rice from the owner. 

“I really have to strive hard. Being a single mother carries with it a heavy burden, but there’s nothing I would not do and cannot do for my children. I will never allow them to go hungry,” says Juliet. 

She earmarked a small portion of a loan she took to buy materials for her house’s construction. She also tries hard to save part of her earnings for the same purpose. 

She knows, however, such will never be enough for her to rebuild a stronger and safer home. 

Juliet is grateful that she is one of the recipients in their village of CARE’s shelter repair kit composed of high quality shelter materials like corrugated sheets, aluminium screen, specialized nails, and other useful items. 

An additional cash supplement of 3,000 pesos (or USD68) was also distributed by CARE and local partner ACCORD to the beneficiaries to enable them to buy more materials or pay for carpentry labour in the rebuilding of homes. 

To date, CARE has provided shelter repair kits to more than 1,800 households across Leyte, Samar and Panay.  

“Thank you to CARE for lightening my burden. Without this shelter help, I don’t know how I can complete my house’s repair even as I work hard. Thank you for being a partner to a single mother like me,” says Juliet.

 

Written by Winnie Aguilar, communications officer, CARE Philippines 

Keep learning:

Juliet Inisa, 44, is a single mother of three children from Malinao municipality in the province of Aklan ( Panay Islands, Philippines) and a beneficiary of the shelter repair kit distribution of CARE and ACCORD. Photo by: Winnie Aguilar, CARE Philippines

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Tagged: 
Philippines
Women's Empowerment
Hunger in Emergencies
Emergency
Women & Children in Emergencies
Typhoon Haiyan