Pudpud (not his real name) may be the youngest and the smallest in his family of nine, but he is definitely the most courageous.
When Severe Tropical Storm Nalgae (local name: Paeng) struck the Philippines last year, it caused massive flooding in several regions in the country, most especially in Mindanao, in the south of the Philippines. Pudpud braved the muddy waters and howling winds using a rickety raft to help save his aunt who lived nearby. Pudpud is a 5th-grade learner and was one of the 1.9 Million on the list of children affected by the disaster. It was also in this encounter with Save the Children’s Humanitarian Response Team, who set-up the temporary learning spaces in his school, that his dream to be a soldier was set aflame.
The onslaught of Nalgae devastated the school of Pudpud and his classmates. They were worried because their learning materials have been soaked or washed away by the heavy rains and flooding.
Seeing the destruction of his school and how Save the Children worked with the government and different sectors to help affected families and children recover through humanitarian work and “bayanihan spirit” or communal unity ignited his patriotism and made him realize that he wanted to help when disaster strikes again.
“Because of the typhoon, many children in the community felt troubled because of their problems inside and outside their homes. But psychosocial activities in the learning spaces really made us feel better. We lost our books and bags but thanks to Save the Children, we have new school bags and school supplies. I am now excited to go back to school and study. I want to be a soldier someday,” Pudpud expressed.
The disaster response efforts of Save the Children Philippines inspire PudPud to continue to study and pursue his dream to become a soldier despite the disasters that hit his home, school, and community.
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