Mara was heavily pregnant with her first baby when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.
Known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, it killed more than 6000 people and left millions homeless when it hit South East Asia in 2013. Amid torrential rain, flying debris, and rising water levels, Mara was evacuated from the coastal home she shared with her grandfather, Ricardo. Mara’s parents are dead, and she left school when she was 11. Her boyfriend left when she told him she was pregnant, and hasn’t been seen for months.
Mara, aged 22, gave birth three weeks after the typhoon died down.
Her daughter is called Veronica, after her grandfather’s favourite Saint. Veronica was premature, and Mara was sent home without proper antenatal care. It was her older sister who first taught her about breastfeeding.
Save The Children runs mobile health clinics and nutrition teams, which provide basic health services and educate women about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Each day, Ricardo works in the fields and Mara stays home to look after Veronica. The house was devastated in the typhoon, so the family shelters in one corner. Because the land around the home is still sodden, sandbags lead to the front door.
The roof leaks, but the family do not have the 30,000 pesos to fix it. Save The Children has given Mara a hygiene kit, and visits regularly to provide health checks and counselling.
My grandfather works in the field all day long so we can forget what’s happened. There is nothing we could have done. This was nature, an act of God, we couldn’t have stopped it. And then I gave birth. I was surprised that she came out at all.