The Tacloban Boy’s Shelter in Tagpuro has a new bedroom thanks to the efforts of VFV volunteers.
Ten freshly painted wooden bunks complete with new mattresses, pillows, sheets and mosquito nets are giving these disadvantaged boys a bright and cheerful resting place.
“It is so great to have new beds!” said 13-year-old shelter resident, Daryl.
UK volunteer Tahlia Sharples said the bedroom brings a much-needed fresh start after the horror of Typhoon Yolanda.
“It was a couple of weeks before anyone could get out to the boys — they were starving and terrified of looters so they sharpened the kitchen knives and slept with them,” she said.
“They have slept on the floor ever since.”
Tahlia, who is dedicating four months to improving the shelter, is determined to raise the living standards for the boys.
“My next project will be clearing out the rubbish left over from Yolanda — with the boys running around barefoot, it’s not safe,” said Tahlia.
“If I can tackle the language barrier I’d really like to teach them some basic First Aid.”
The house shelters ten boys between the ages of 12 and 20 who have been rescued from a life on the streets.
The shelter employs a rotating group of guardians that enforce house rules and school attendance.
The boys learn how to cook, clean, keep chickens and are now learning how to grow their own food thanks to a donation of seeds through VFV.
“They will be growing beans, okra, and cabbage which is important because right now their diet is mostly rice,” said US volunteer April Sick.
April dropped in to the shelter to help Tahlia with the bedroom makeover and found herself moved to action by the plight of the street kids.
“I saw all the availability at this shelter and so many street kids in the city and I just felt frustrated to the point where I knew I had to do something about it,” said April.
“The street kids in Tacloban have really touched me; they deserve a safe place to live.”
April shared photographs and the boys’ story with her family and friends back in Florida and raised funds to do further work to the shelter.
“There is plenty of space here but no money to bring in more children — I want that to change,” said April.
*Written by volunteer Emma Bailie, journalist from Australia