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■Lost Lives, New Lives (2009/10/19)

In the middle of the night on October 14th, 25-year-old Irene, staying at KnK's House for Youth, started having contractions. KnK’s local staff members took her to the nearby hospital, but she wasn’t accepted due to absence of the medical specialist. It was three o'clock in the morning when Irene finally got accepted at a distant hospital. Immediately after that she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

The tiny baby girl who resembled her mother was named Bernades after her father Benjamin. On the 18th morning since the attach of Typhoon Kitsana, a new life was born in one of the affected areas outside Manila, where nearly 700 lives had been lost. Relieved, Irene smiled after a long time. She said that she was very happy to finally have this day.

Irene smiling at her new-born baby.
The family of four.

“Around ten o’clock in the morning on September 26th, I woke up to hear the screams from my neighbors, ‘Run!? Run!’ I noticed that my house was all flooded.”

“The water was rushing into my house. But I thought running away was a little exaggerated because the house was always flooded when it rained. However, the water level rose up to my chest within thirty minutes. I wanted to escape but couldn’t get out of the house. I was desperately holding on to a pole when my brother-in-law came to help me. That’s when a huge volume of water washed our house away.”

Irene’s house used to be here. It was washed away without trace.

Irene was living in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City with her husband and a two-year-old son. They had a modest life; they had barely managed to build a house with wood available around them. They once considered giving up life in town and moving into the countryside, but Irene was determined to continue their life in the city. They got their first son and were living a poor and difficult but happy life. That’s when the disaster occurred. Benjamin left early for work but hurried home quickly, worried about his family when the storm got more fierce. But he found that his house had disappeared and could not see the family. It was the following day when the family finally found each other.

“We still feel bad and regret our powerlessness. But the whole family survived, and now we’ve had Bernades without any trouble. When she is older, we will tell her that the typhoon killed lots of people, that the family had a difficult life, and that KnK helped us. Without help from KnK's House for Youth, we can't even imagine what would have happened to us, or if Bernades would have been born safe and secure.”

Staring at her husband Benjamin for a second, Irene continued a little bashfully.
“I want to live a stable life in a new location someday. I hope you will let us stay at KnK’s House for Youth a little longer until then.

Bernades is called “Princess KnK” among the staff members. Her healthy cry can still be heard at the House for Youth today.

A new life was born here.


Nonprofit Organization Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK)
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