Jenry’s Story, Philippines

Photo by Tom W. Monboe/UNHCR/2014.

Photo by Rey A. Paiser/2014

At first glance he can be mistaken for a jester, as he is often caught making jokes of all sorts throughout the day. But for the eight months that I’ve known him, he proved to possess a heart that yearns for justice and equality to those in need.

Jenry and I were among the Community and Family Services International’s (CFSI) emergency responders from the communities affected by the tropical storm Haiyan. We were assigned to different arenas – I to reports, and he to work on the ground. Jenry was a community organizer in every sense of the word. He not only did his part in distributing UNHCR non-food items to reduce the vulnerability of the men, women, and children whose lives were ravaged by the storm, he also walked the extra mile to learn more about the communities he served; regardless of the language and cultural barriers that set them apart.

For those eight months that I’ve known Jenry, I learned that he loves standing in front of a crowd to share all the things he learned while spending time with them. While he would sometimes steal the spotlight through his jokes, he is also a leader who steps aside so that the community would realize their capacities and potential.

Jenry hates paperwork and rather blends in with the community in the field – completely the opposite to my character. And now that he’s doing protection monitoring in Haiyan-stricken areas in Leyte, I would say that he’s definitely living his mission.


Text by Fae Esperas/ 2014.

1 family torn apart by war is too many

Learn more about our work with refugees at