Activity cards, story book, and radio provided to COVID-19 affected Aeta community

Children from a small Aeta community in Batangas were surprised to receive a World Vision ecobag containing items that would help them cope with their stay-at-home situation amid the COVID-10 pandemic.

The bag contains school items such as notebooks and pens, activity cards with information on what and how children can avoid COVID-19, a storybook, and a small transistor radio.

“The activity pack is part of World Vision’s awareness raising campaign about COVID-19 but in a way that the children will enjoy. That’s why the items include colorful activity cards and a storybook,” Douglas Chua, World Vision program manager, said.

Seeing the colorful activity card set, Jhanlordy, 8, hurriedly called his friends to play it. In no time, the children became too busy but happily playing the cards, laughing and shouting every now and then, when one loses or wins.

“We’re not going to school this year,” Jhanlordy said earlier. “Our teacher will give us the module to answer. I like going to school. There are more things to do there than here.”

This coming school year, Jhanlordy and his friends will be staying home and answer modules provided by their teachers. Online schooling is not their option since it is too expensive for them. His father works as a laborer earning Php400 a day. With transportation restriction due to COVID-19, his father now merely sells herbal medicines in a nearby town, giving him a meager income for a day’s work, enough to put food on the family’s table for a couple of days.

When the rain started pouring, children ran back to their sawali patched houses. Jhanlordy sat in the corner of their house, still checking on the cards that he had received.

His mother, Loraine, 29, peeked inside the bag and found the small radio. She exclaimed, “Ay, may radio pala! (There’s a radio!).”

Under a dimmed light, Loraine put the batteries and curiously checked where the on-and-off button is. After a few twist and turns of the various radio buttons, Loraine finally got it. A husky male voice jolted the siblings, Jhanlordy and Jhanelle. They giggled.

“We don’t have radio here. We only watch TV,” Loraine said, pointing at a very old small TV on top of a plastic cabinet. “When there is no electricity, then we don’t have TV. This radio would  be useful. We just need to buy batteries.”

To date, World Vision in the Philippines has reached more than 5 million individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this number, 1.2 million are children. Assistance includes provision of school supplies, relief goods, cash, protective equipment for frontliners and tents for isolation units.