Children in Southern Leyte Go Back to School as Families Recover from Odette

UNICEF continues to support affected municipalities on safe school reopening

UNICEF Philippines
Children in Southern Leyte Go Back to School as Families Recover from Odette
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza
13 April 2022

Bontoc Central School in Southern Leyte reopened for in-person learning last 7 March 2022, months after Typhoon Odette damaged their school facilities. Students are eager to finally go back to in-person learning after two years of school closures.

While the school recovers from the destruction brought about by the typhoon, students and teachers manage to take turns in using functional parts of their school buildings; classes are conducted by batches in morning and afternoon sessions.

UNICEF temporary learning spaces in Southern Leyte
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

Grade 1 and Grade 2 classes are scheduled in the mornings inside UNICEF tents that serve as temporary learning spaces for students whose classrooms were severely damaged by Odette.

Children wash their hands outside a UNICEF tent
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

There are handwashing sinks placed at the entrance of their tents to encourage them to always wash their hands in between classes and activities.

Children change footwear outside UNICEF temporary learning space
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

The students also leave their shoes on the shoe rack outside and wear slippers inside to keep their learning space clean and unsoiled.

Teacher conducting classes inside UNICEF tent
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

Christyl Goden is a Grade 1 teacher. She makes sure that concerns and questions of each of her 15 student are well attended to.

Students inside UNICEF temporary learning spaces in Southern Leyte
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

The students use materials from UNICEF school-in-box and UNICEF learner kits such as paper, writing instruments, coloring materials and other school supplies. Ricardo, 7, thought it was very helpful as it saved their family from spending on school supplies.

Students inside UNICEF temporary learning spaces in Southern Leyte
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

Andy, 6, loves the coloring activities. She also prefers classes in school as she thinks studying at home can be dull and difficult.

Students inside UNICEF temporary learning spaces in Southern Leyte
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

While Teacher Christyl attends to each student, some of them love going around and offering help to their other classmates.

Students inside UNICEF temporary learning spaces in Southern Leyte
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

During recess or class breaks, they get to eat together and chat about random things including fun games to play. Some of their favorite playground games are tag, or what they call “dakop-dakop” and the Chinese garter.

Students inside UNICEF temporary learning spaces in Southern Leyte
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

Eli, 7, likes sitting with his buddy Zander, 8. They think recess is the best part of being in school as they get to eat their snacks and share jokes with each other.

Students inside UNICEF temporary learning spaces in Southern Leyte
UNICEF Philippines/2022/Blanche Bacareza

These Grade 1 students are just among the students at Bontoc Central School who prefer in-person learning, enjoying actual interaction with their teachers and classmates.

The teachers also find it easier to identify who among their students need special guidance as they catch-up on lessons after the distance learning period. They say that there are instances when their students come back even after their class schedule because they want to study more.

The most vulnerable children bear the brunt of the learning crisis. UNICEF advocates for the safe and uninterrupted education of every child, especially in times of emergency. We continue to work with partners and the Philippine Government to provide continued support for children’s right to learn.

You can help us reach more children by donating now at https://bit.ly/UNICEFEmergencies