Philippine Self-Help Foundation

Tia Juanita stands on the place where her bamboo house once stood

In the middle of the night, Tia Juanita was awakened by her granddaughter, “Lola (Grandma), wake up! Our house is on fire!" Juanita got up and stared in horror as the fire gobbled up her roof. She and her grandchildren fled with only their clothes on their backs. Immediately the officials in the community opened the local chapel for the fire victims. Food supplies poured in as well as clothing. A few days later, the parents of Jan-jan (the boyfriend of Sheila who is Juanita’s granddaughter) invited Juanita and her grandchildren to live with them.

The following week, Juanita came to the PSHF office to ask for help; she needed capital to be able to resume her vegetable vending business as well as funds to have her house rebuilt. The PSHF responded promptly and the day after she came to the office, she was back in the market selling vegetables and spices.

Despite what happened, Juanita has many things to thank for: no one in her family nor in her neighbourhood died or was injured. The people around her, including strangers, have been generous to her and her grandchildren. Most of all, despite losing their few possessions, Juanita and her grandchildren became all the more close to each other.