How PLAY and veggies keep Zed healthy

Zed was only five years old during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. When community restrictions were implemented and classes were suspended for children’s protection, Zed had no choice but to stay at home and study remotely.

“Zed did not have many opportunities to have face-to-face interactions with children her age,” Zed’s mother, Editha, explains. “When she’s not studying, she’d help out in our sari-sari store or play with her younger sister.”

Zed and her family live in a far-flung town in Camarines Norte, Philippines, a province with an estimated 30.5 % poverty incidence. Zed’s father, Louie, is a welder. Her mother, Editha, usually keeps their store open until the wee hours to earn more for the family. Zed has two sisters: two-year-old Edineth and twelve-year-old Jaja, who is also a World Vision sponsored child.

“It would be costly if one of us got sick, so I always remind Zed to stay indoors to avoid contacting any disease,” Editha says.

Recently, World Vision has partnered with the local community to build a small park where children can interact and play. The playground is approximately 45 minutes away from Zed’s home but she patiently enjoys the journey, excited to make new friends once she arrives.

“World Vision and the local government saw the need for a safe space where children can run with each other, play with each other,” Maria Gomonan, World Vision Program Officer in Camarines Norte, explains. “Aside from having a place where they can be active, the playground can also promote positive interactions among children that will help their overall growth and development.”

“It’s risky for children to go out during the pandemic. I don’t go out often because I don’t want to get sick,” Zed says after enjoying the slides and swinging from one monkey bar handle to another. “I thank World Vision for this playground. I look forward to meeting many children and playing with them.”

As a sponsored child, Zed also looks forward to the opening of classes, where she will have the chance to spend time with her classmates face-to-face and use the school supplies from World Vision. Zed finished the past school year with honors.

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” she proudly declares. “I want to help other people.”

At seven years old, Zed will have to wait for a few more years to realize her dreams. For now, she makes sure to keep herself healthy and active.

“I love eating vegetables. I love to eat eggplants, ampalaya (bitter gourd), green beans, and pechay,” Zed reveals. “Vegetables make our bodies healthy so I eat lots of vegetables to avoid diseases. When I get home, I’ll eat green beans with mama.”


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