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Joy over new schools in the Philippines

Construction project in areas devastated by the typhoon Haiyan is on the home stretch.
Finn Church Aid rebuilds 27 totally or partially damaged schools, constructing altogether 47 semi-permanent classrooms.

  • Teachers Teresita Cabos and Lhady Depalco gather the children still playing in the school yard for a photo in front of the new classroom building in the beautiful early evening light. Santa Margarita Elementary School in Quinapondan, Eastern Samar.

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  • Micaehla, Riza and Ellaine go to school in Salvacion, Jinamoc Island, Basey, Western Samar.

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  • Young engineer Rizel Mayo is building schools in villages recovering from typhoon Haiyan. She is one of the five Filipino engineers working for FCA project. Here in Salvacion, one of the beneficiaries of the new classrooms will be her own daughter.

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  • Casting the foundation in Salvacion.

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  • Students have had to study in this much too small space under tarpaulins in Southern Samar National High School.

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  • The new five classrooms building is the biggest building in the project. It is nearly finished.

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  • Michael Calliste applying putty at the National High School.

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  • Several of the schools are situated in very remote locations. The vehicles cannot use this bridge in order to take construction materials to Guinmaayohan School.

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  • There is this bypass but it can only be used when it is not raining.

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  • The view towards the valley where town of Guinmaayohan is.

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  • Carpenter Peter Fabillar and skilled worker Israel Alvarez at the Guinmaayohan School construction site. Alvarez used to work at the capital Manila before, and he is very happy now to have a job at his home town. His child is a student at the school.

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  • “This classroom is a lot cleaner,” says Lysa-Ann Jalbay. (middle, front row)
    Her teacher Elaine Mirador explains that when the children were still studying in the temporary shelter under tarpaulin roof, there was no way to keep the dogs – and dog manure – out. Children also got sick because of the heat. Grade 2 at San Jose School, Mercedes, Eastern Samar.

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  • Children do a jump pose at Boboon School in Mercedes, Eastern Samar. Their teachers Lourdes Asadon and Gene Lumagbas tell about the devastation they encountered when they first arrived at the school after typhoon Haiyan.
    “We are thankful to be alive, but we discovered that 80 percent of all teaching materials and learning facilities were destroyed. Children are so excited about the new building!”

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The materials have been chosen to withstand local weather patterns – the heat, heavy rains and stormy winds. Fiber-cement wall boards withstand heat, fire and mold.

The buildings have a life span of at least 15 years and by replacing the wall boards, their life spans can be extended. The classrooms will have new desks and chairs and the blackboards will be painter in the walls with blackboard paint.

The schools have also been assisted with first-aid kits and school supplies. Desks and teachers’ desks will be delivered to schools during August and September.

Text and photos: Ulla Kärki