» Philippine children rebuild lives after typhoon with long-term help from UNESCO
28.06.2016 - Education Sector

Philippine children rebuild lives after typhoon with long-term help from UNESCO

© UNESCO

Secondary schoolchildren traumatised by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda are benefiting from long-term rehabilitation as part of a UNESCO project.

UNESCO Jakarta Office and Philippines’ Department of Education has trained 285 secondary school teachers and education key officials in how best to help children rebuild and improve their lives since the 2013 typhoon hit through the Emergency Psychosocial Support for Secondary School-aged Students project.

“Recovery and rehabilitation is not something that happens overnight, said Reynaldo Laguda, Department of Education Undersecretary for Administration and Finance. “This particular project is very special for us because it addresses areas that are sometimes disregarded in recovery. This is essentially talking about things that people don’t usually discuss and providing support for students, emotionally and psychologically.” 

The project consists of a psychosocial training module rolled out through workshops for teachers in post-disaster psychosocial support and relayed through the classroom through special activities and practical recovery goals. It also trains education policy decision-makers to ensure the module can be applied in a broader emergency context while local needs are addressed.

Helping children to dream again

Six months ago the joint project was boosted by the Enhanced and Improved Teachers’ Manual on Psychosocial Interventions for Secondary School-aged Students During Disasters and Emergency Situations funded by the Official Development Assistance of the Government of Japan.

Training facilitator Dr Maria Regina Hechanova said: “When you are victimized by a trauma and you lose everything, sometimes you lose even the dreams because they seem very unreachable, because you're starting from scratch. What we're trying to do is get them to dream again,”

“The teacher opens up the door after a disaster and taps the inner strength of the learners, so that they don't have to go through the trauma for a long period of time,” said Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

Ms Daisy Espuglar, Mathematics Secondary Schoolteacher who took part in a recent introductory training workshop said: “We have learned how to prepare our hearts, our bodies and our minds in times of disasters and calamities.”  

The 2013 typhoon destroyed more than 1.2 million homes displacing 4 million people. UNESCO responded by sending teams of experts in education, culture, media development, hydrology, early warning systems, resilient infrastructure and disaster and risk reduction from Paris, Jakarta, Beijing and Bangkok.

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