How often do you change your toothbrush?
To some, this might seem like a silly question, but it actually tells a lot about the inequalities many Filipino children are facing.
Not all families have access to basic hygiene products. Some cannot afford it, while others live in areas that are just too faraway from markets or clinics.
It is the same for sanitary napkins — not all girls can access it.
While all children have the right to live healthy lives, not everyone has the means to do so. This is especially true during humanitarian crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the lockdown started, our everyday lives became more challenging,” Gelyn said in Waray, “The pandemic caused us a lot of problems.”
Gelyn is a 13-year-old high schooler from Western Samar. She lives with her grandmother and aunts.
Gelyn’s grandmother is a fish vendor; however, the pandemic forced her to stop working.
“Due to community lockdowns, my grandmother was not allowed to go out,” said Gelyn, “so we had to wait and rely on relief goods.”
“Meanwhile, both my aunts are out of work,” Gelyn added, “it is more difficult for persons with disabilities to look for jobs right now.”
With no steady income, Gelyn’s family had trouble accessing basic needs, such as toiletries.