Jaime is a sixth grade student at Liberato Damian Elementary School in Pasig City, one of the hardest hit areas by tropical storm Ondoy/Ketsana. Jaime is now living in his school with his family when their house was inundated with floodwaters. This is the letter he read to UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman when she visited affected families living in evacuation centers. UNICEF is supporting the government’s efforts to assist children and families displaced by the storm, and keep them healthy.
My name is Jaime C. De Venecia, Jr. My two other siblings and I are currently studying here in Liberato Damian, the same place where we are temporarily living in because of the floods.
I wish the water would go down because if it doesn’t, our house might soon collapse. You see, the walls and flooring of our house was built by our father using scrap materials he collected from his work in a construction site. If he didn’t work there, we wouldn’t have a house at all.
If our house collapses, we wouldn’t have any place to live in again. When the water goes down, I hope to go back to school. In our rush to escape the rising waters, all of my school materials got wet or lost in the flood. With no materials and uniform, I can’t go back to school just yet.
My dream is to finish my studies so I can help my family. It pains me to see my father work so hard that his body seems to give up on him. I want to get a good job, even as a janitor just so I can help my father. He works very hard and he does his best to take care of us. He dreams of a bright future for us so that we wouldn’t end up like him. But despite everything, I’m still thankful because even if we don’t have much and we’re poor, we are happy just as long as we’re together as a family.