A child holds much wisdom that adults can learn from if we listen and provide them an opportunity to express themselves, share their thoughts and encourage their opinions. Raised hands and eager voices of children echo throughout the conversations in the webinar. Rhenz said that cutting trees contribute to harming our environment while Janine mentioned that healthy environment and safety from disasters are one of their children’s rights. From the many voices of participating children on their contributions to keep our Mother Earth healthy and clean, one tiny voice carrying an immensely important message finds its way – “We have to pray”, says Vien Moreno, a 7 year old girl who were among the participants in the conversations about “Kalinga sa Kalikasan and Kaligtasan sa Kalamidad” of the Kwentuhang Karapatan ng KaBATAan webinar.
ChildFund Philippines celebrates the National Children’s Month this November by a series of a different kind of webinar – transforming discussion into conversations of children. The weekly webinar is created for and by the children with ChildFund Philippines’ program specialists entitled, “Kwentuhang Karapatan ng KaBATAan”. An informative and fun-filled children’s conversations about their stories on their right to life, survival, health, safety and protection, and education. Hosted by the youths in the communities the organization serves, it will have conversations and learning activities on care of the environment and disaster preparedness, mental, physical and emotional health, online safety and protection, and education – the very pressing and critical issues that children are facing during this pandemic.
According to the Country Director of ChildFund Philippines, Federico Luis Diaz-Albertini, “A child’s voice is our north star and strengthens our commitment to action that with them they can reach their full potential at each phase of their life. Listening to their voices which are full of stories of resilience, of hope and needs, of struggles and wisdom and dreams sets the direction we need to take collectively. A webinar for them and by them is hopefully an innovative and effective communication platform during this National Children’s Month in which their rights are highlighted and radiated out for all to understand, internalize, and act upon.”
Children are most vulnerable to the threats the pandemic brings coupled with a series of calamities this season. The restrictions on mobility, loss of life and livelihood, confinement in homes and exposure to unsafe environments, damages to properties, inaccessibility of basic services pose an increased danger and risk on children’s safety, mental, physical and emotional health, learning and education.
Christine, one of the three speakers in the webinar and an active youth facilitator of REINA Federation of Parents’ Association working with ChildFund Philippines, expresses her gratitude and excitement that the organization creates this opportunity for them to share their knowledge and skills to the younger children. She mentioned that the pandemic limited their mobility and halted the interaction within their community which affect her sense of purpose and passion in teaching younger children. During the webinar, she takes the children through her rich experience in family disaster preparedness and shares how working together to prepare for disaster can save lives. Mako, also a youth facilitator from REINA and the host of the first of the series of the webinar, faces the same emotional and mental burden like many of the youths in the country when normal flow of life is stalled by the pandemic and fear is doubled by recent disasters as both him and Kristine reside in Infanta, Quezon that is always being hit by typhoons, but he believes that sadness and anxiety will be replaced with hope and faith when they begin to listen, exchange and share knowledge and skills to the younger children. Jayson, one of the youth speakers residing in the mountainous area of Cagayan de Oro and an active facilitator of Kaabag sa Kalambuan pinaagi sa Kabtangan sa Katilingban (KKKK) has shared the importance of caring for the environment and how the little conscious steps we take now can mitigate climate change because we are all connected. The webinar is participative, informative and fun for the children. Supported by Erwin Galido, ChildFund Philippines’ Disaster Risk Management Program Specialist, who leads the conversation by presenting information on climate change and disaster preparedness has asked the children to share their own experiences and knowledge and encouraged them to express what they know and how they can contribute.
As we all try to cope in this abnormal situation, Christine, Mako and Jayson together with the children are adapting to the new normal of virtual interaction through this series of webinars where they are provided the channel to exercise their right to express their skills and learn from others in the celebration of National Children’s Month, declared and observed through Republic Act No. 10661 to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations Assembly on November 20, 1989.
In partnership with WhenInManila.com , the first KKK webinar focusing on Kalinga sa Kalikasan at Kaligtasan sa Kalamidad was attended by school children from Sibsib Central Elementary School and Kanibong Indigenous Peoples Elementary School in Tulunan, Cotabato who faced a series of earthquakes in 2019.
ChildFund Philippines is a program country of ChildFund International, a child-focused international development organization that works in 24 countries to connect children with the people, resources and institutions they need to grow up healthy, educated, skilled and safe, no matter where they are. ChildFund Philippines works nationwide with 12 civil society organizations as partners from Apayao to Tawi-Tawi and has been serving the Filipino children for almost 50 years now.
To access the interactive and informative children’s conversations on Kalinga sa Kalikasan at Kaligtasan sa Kalamidad, click; https://www.facebook.com/childfundph/videos/385252265925216/