A healing sanctuary

Almost four months after typhoon Pablo ravaged southern Philippines, the people especially those in the hardest hit areas are still reeling from the trauma caused by its massive devastation on their houses, towns, properties, and on their lives.

In Compostela Valley, an area not used to big storms, floods, and landslides, the residents were caught off guard as the typhoon overturned their wooden houses and destroyed their schools, farms, and livelihood.

Rodel Lino, a barangay chairman in Sitio Taytayan, Andap, New Bataan, said the children were in shock when Pablo struck their village, uprooting coconut trees and causing the rivers to swell.

"It was a very traumatic experience for our children, especially those aged three and above," he recalls.

Four-year-old Maica Gabriel said that she felt too much fear when the strong winds threatened to destroy their house. She cried and clung tightly to her mother throughout the ordeal.

"There were nights that my daughter would cry in the middle of the night as the horrible experiences go back to haunt her in her dreams," shares her mother Laila.

Jean Lino, another four-year old girl, who saw the house of their neighbor being swept away by the raging waters, is also going through the same experience.

Meanwhile, Jairmaine Dahay, principal of Alimadmad Elementary School in Brgy. Concepcion, Montevista, said that their school was a total mess after the typhoon, as the students' notebooks, papers and other things were completely destroyed.

The school staff tried their best to bring things back to normal but the effect of the storm on the children was just too much.

"Children lost their eagerness and optimism to go back to school, as all their things were destroyed," says Grade 6 teacher Rosario Troya, adding that only 10 percent of the pupils returned to school while the rest opted to stay with their families in the evacuation centers.

CHILDREN FIRST

Plan International (Plan) was among the first non-profit organizations that rushed to the affected areas a few days after the typhoon to heed the call of the victims. Volunteers braved the heavy rains, landslides and flooded roads in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental just to deliver relief goods, bottled water, and other basic needs to the victims, especially the children.

But more than these immediate needs, Plan focused its assistance in Compostela Valley on education and child protection.

Dahay said Plan arrived at their school with two huge tents that served as improvised classrooms while the school was being repaired. Plan also brought in new school supplies for the students.

"We arrived in Barangay Concepcion on Dec. 31, bringing school packs and kits filled with notebooks, papers, pens, and pencils. Other school needs were immediately sent by the first week of January," says Margarito Guasis, Plan's team leader in Compostela Valley.

According to Dahay, after the supplies were distributed, the kids starting returning to school, and their attendance continues to increase up to this time. Finally, things were going back to normal. Alimadmad Elementary School has a total population of 315 pupils and nine teachers.

"Plan International's prompt response to our situation resulted in a positive outcome for the children," Troya says.

Each teacher also received teaching kits from Plan that included boxes of chalk, pentel pens, bottles of ink, pens, lesson plans and rolls of Manila paper.

REBUILDING LIVES

Aside from school supplies, Plan also trained the teachers on how to conduct psychosocial therapy and other coping mechanisms so they can apply it to their pupils.

In Sitio Taytayan, Brgy. Andap, Plan funded the construction of a child-friendly building in the evacuation area. Brgy. chairman Lino says that this has become an important dwelling and healing sanctuary for the children. It is where the kids play, learn, eat and sleep. They are also currently undergoing psychosocial sessions that will last three to four months.

Sessions for kids aged three to six include storytelling, indoor games, drawing and coloring, while the seven to 12-year-olds have different activities. Meanwhile, older kids who are in the evacuation center in Taytayan are being educated on child rights and protection, aside from debriefing.

"I found the psychosocial processes very effective for our pupils," says Dahay. "They are now participating in classroom activities, and are becoming active in the learning process, unlike before when the nightmares of Pablo were still fresh in their minds."

Plan is using a child-centered community development (CCCD) program in all its interventions in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. CCCD, Plan's child rights approach enables children, families and communities to be active participants in their own development. The approach recognizes the link between poverty and rights, where poverty is both a cause and consequence of the denial of rights.

"Plan is an international humanitarian, child-centered development organization that envisions a world in which all children realize their full potential in societies that respect people's rights and dignity" says Mardy Halcon, communications officer of Plan.

For over 50 years now, Plan's work and investment in the country has centered around key issues affecting children - education, health, livelihood, governance, water and environmental sanitation, child protection and disaster risk reduction and management.

It is operating in the poorest provinces such as Masbate, Occidental Mindoro, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte. Plan has also implemented projects in Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Maguindanao, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental in Mindanao, and Tanay, Rizal in Luzon.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano
    Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano

    Government troops captured Sunday a bomb and weapons factory of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday. Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the captured bomb and weapons factory is located inside an area controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako at Barangay Dasikil in Mamasapano. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options