Written by Femina Laya Canua, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
Five-year-old Steve cannot yet understand why he stays with his siblings in their grandparents’ house. He cannot yet grasp why his mother and father are not seeing each other. And to complicate matters, he cannot yet see that his family’s situation is already affecting his health.
Steve was diagnosed as a third-degree malnourished child. Though playful with other children, he is unusually thin and only eats lightly. His 60-year-old Lola (Grandma) Encarnacion was surprised to know that he is malnourished, weighing only 13 kilograms rather than being 17 kilos for his age.
With parents separated, Steve, his 10-year-old sister and 1-year-old brother were left in the care of their grandparents – Lola Encarnacion and Lolo (Grandpa) Silverio. Steve’s old guardians used to be farmers before Typhoon Nona (IN: Melor) struck the banana and coconut trees they planted. The old couple later decided to stop farming because of health problems and to just make kakanin (native delicacies) to earn money for their grandchildren’s needs. Steve’s two cousins, whose parents are also separated, are part of their household too.
According to his Lola, Steve was a healthy boy when he was born and later brought to Manila by his parents. When his parents separated, Steve and his siblings were brought back to their grandparents in Samar. It was then his grandparents noticed the changes in his physical health.
To survive each day, Lola Encarnacion and Lolo Silverio harvest vegetables from their yard. If the vegetables are not available, Lola Encarnacion only cooks porridge. Unfortunately, their situation is all too common to other children in Northern Samar.
Lola Encarnacion admitted that it was much harder for her to watch her grandchildren go hungry. She also knew she had to do something to improve Steve’s nutrition so she did not hesitate to enroll him in Operation Blessing’s Bless-A-Child program. Through the program, Steve will undergo a year of feeding while his grandparents will be provided values formation, parenting seminar, health education, livelihood and budgeting.
How you can help? Click on the link now to make an online donation for the children who urgently need help. http://www.obphil.com/home/give-through-banks/