There is No Stopping HimBy Judith Baasa and Florence Joy Maluyo
Angelito, 12, was born with cerebral palsy, which has affected his movement and posture, resulting in difficulty in walking, speech and delay in learning. Despite his condition, he is a ball of energy to his family. He smiles a lot, he loves to play and he spends most of his time with his siblings.
“We love him so much,” shares his father, 48-year old Rommel. As a labourer, Rommel would work at a construction project, the market or wherever he is needed, just to provide for his family of seven.
When Angelito started with his special education class, Rommel would patiently carry him on his back to bring him to school. “The first time that I brought him to school, I was overjoyed. I want Angelito to grow up not feeling left out. I love sending him to school and seeing him learn and mingle with other children,” shares Rommel.
When Angelito became a World Vision sponsored child, he was linked to the social welfare department for a wheelchair. They also helped with his medication.
Going Through the Pandemic TogetherThe education and economic sectors were not spared from the impact of COVID-19. Angelito’s school had to cut short the classes. The department of education reported that over 28 million students were affected across the Philippines. “I miss school. I like playing, drawing and colouring the most,” says Angelito.
Meanwhile, in a recent World Vision rapid assessment on the impact of COVID-19, 92% of the households surveyed said that their livelihoods were disrupted, including Rommel’s. Although the family was in a tough situation, Rommel and his wife, Norma, took advantage of the community quarantine to strengthen their bond as a family. They would spend time together, playing and cracking jokes. Angelito especially loves playing with the hand-push wheel toy that his father made. Although he could not stand for a long period of time, he would laugh the most when he played it with his siblings.
“It was a difficult time. I did not have work for two months. But I am grateful to everyone in the community who helped our family cope. I relied heavily on our health centre for Angelito’s medicines. The local government supplied us with food.” World Vision also helped the family by providing food packs.
“I know that things will be better. I am now back to work. We do not know yet how Angelito or his school will adjust to the pandemic but we will try our best to teach him even while he is at home,” says Rommel.
“Seeing Angelito smile and feeling secure in the presence of his family, especially his father, means a lot. These are trying times and it is important that parents are there for their children – to explain to them the situation that they are in, to spend time with them,” shares Judith Baasa, a World Vision staff member based in Rommel’s community.
World Vision also continues to regularly check on Angelito and other children in the area. Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, we are certain that, through our strong partnership with the local government and the community leaders, we will find ways to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and monitor the well-being of children in places where World Vision is present.