World Vision partners with Unilab Foundation to help children deal with disasters


Experiencing earthquakes, typhoons, landslides, and other natural disasters is traumatizing, especially to children. With the goal of helping families prepare before disasters and cope with its aftermath, international humanitarian organization World Vision, in partnership with Unilab Foundation, Civicom, and the Department of Education (DepEd) gathered facilitators, parents, and elementary students in Surigao to conduct the Play It Forward program.


Initiated by Unilab Foundation, Play It Forward is a psychosocial program designed to help children and parents process experiences and trauma brought about by accidents or disasters. The program capitalizes on integrating modules and play spaces to help children recover.



From September 13 to 15, teachers from different public schools in Surigao attended the Play It Forward training, where they learned how to conduct and implement disaster risk reduction trainings and post-disaster activities for parents and children. The aim of the 3-day training was to equip DRR facilitators so that they would know what to do should disasters strike their area. A 6.7 magnitude quake rocked the province last February.


“Looking at the excited demeanor of both the children and their facilitators, we would like to believe that we were able to achieve our objectives here to use play as a form of building the emotional resiliency of children,” said Christian Gomez, Program Manager of Unilab Foundation Inc. “With the help of our partners World Vision and DepEd, we’re able to achieve to a great extent what we have set out to do.”



The Play It Forward training culminated with a 2-day implementation activity from September 16 to 17, where the new DRR facilitators got the chance to apply their learnings by conducting DRR activities with both parents and children. The facilitators used art, songs, dance, stories, and Filipino games to teach the participants what to do before, during, and after disasters strike. Children were also given the chance to make their own superhero capes and join a role play where they got the chance to be heroes in their own communities.



“The children were ecstatic. They could not contain their smiles when they saw the toys and art materials that they would be using for the activities,” shared Michelle Ricafort, one of the newly-trained Play It Forward facilitators. She added, “The activities challenged the children to use their creativity and teamwork.”



Christy, a 7-year-old participant, shared that she enjoyed all of the activities. “I loved making my own cape and being a superhero of my community the most,” she said.


The Play It Forward program in Surigao trained 30 facilitators who then conducted simultaneous programs attended by 215 elementary students and 50 parents. At the end of the activity, Play It Forward kits containing DRR items and modules were distributed to all the participants.



“Many children were affected by the Surigao earthquake that took place February 2017. We wanted to have a psychosocial rehabilitation program that could help children deal with the experience through playful and a more meaningful manner,” explained AJ Renomeron, Corporate Engagement Specialist of World Vision in the Philippines. “It helped them in terms of really giving the kids a fun time while also learning about the importance of being ready for any disaster.” World Vision/September 28, 2017


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