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After Typhoon Haiyan: Girls and women rebuild their lives

Construction workers rebuilding a school.

A year later, Plan continues to help communities rebuild.

On November 8, 2013, one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall hit the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan devastated communities and affected 14 million lives.

Plan responded quickly in the aftermath and we continue to help thousands of children and their families rebuild their lives through water and sanitation, health, nutrition, education, livelihood and reconstruction efforts.

Unique challenges for girls and women

Following disasters, the safety and protection of children is one of Plan’s top priorities. In these situations, girls in particular can become vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, and can face increased risk of child marriage or gender-based violence.

To address this issue, Plan established women-friendly spaces in areas affected by the typhoon, where girls and women could receive support from trained facilitators, and each other.

Three women peer through a window.

Women and girls find support at women-friendly spaces.

“We feel empowered to be helping other women in our community,” shared Aquilina, a 38-year-old local volunteer at a women-friendly space.

These spaces will continue to benefit girls and women long after the recovery from Typhoon Haiyan – becoming shelters for survivors of gender-based violence.

Life has changed

The lives of millions have changed, but with Plan’s support, communities are building back, better and stronger than before.

As a result of this natural disaster, many schools were destroyed – halting education for students like 16-year-old Bernadeth. With temporary learning spaces and the reconstruction of schools, Bernadeth has been able to return to school, and pursue her dream of becoming an English teacher.

A young woman stands in her home.

Bernadeth, 16, and her family feel safe in their newly built home.

“I want to encourage children and inspire them,” she said.

Her family’s home, which was destroyed by Haiyan, has been rebuilt with Plan’s support.

“Our situation now is much better than before because now we have a home. It’s much better than our old house,” explained Bernadeth’s mother, Ruvelyn.

Better, stronger, together

The last year has brought many challenges to people across the Philippines, but working together, they’re rebuilding stronger and healthier communities, where girls and women can thrive.

Protect girls’ rights with the Because I am a Girl project

By sponsoring the Because I am a Girl project, you help us tackle some of the challenges that girls and women face in the Philippines, and other developing countries, such as access to education and protection from violence.

Learn more about the project