The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), held the online launch of an activity book and a comic book which will help alleviate the mental health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic to children and youth on May 27, 2022.
The activity book entitled, “Sarilaysay, (Sariling Salaysay, Isang Activity Book Para sa Malusog na Pag-Iisip ng mga Batang Pilipino)” aims to assist children aged five to nine to express themselves, meditate, and handle stress during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the “Eroplanong Papel” Comic Book will be handed out to children and youth aged ten to seventeen. It features relatable characters that will help address the fears and worries of children and youth in adapting with the new normal situation.
Sarilaysay was illustrated by Randy Valiente, while Eroplanong Papel was drawn by Dominic Agsaway. Both materials were written by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz. The advocacy materials will be distributed to children in DSWD-managed residential care facilities and other beneficiaries of the Department and CWC.
During the launch, Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista discussed the importance of the materials. He said, “With the pandemic affecting the overall health and well-being of children, the DSWD and CWC partnered with JICA to create a project to address the mental health risks brought by COVID-19 to Filipino children.”
“One of the effective strategies identified by the three agencies is to develop child-friendly information materials that will help guide children in residential care facilities and in poor communities to cope with the changes brought by the pandemic to their lives,” the Secretary added.
Aside from Secretary Bautista, the event was attended by CWC Executive Director Maria Lourdes Fugoso-Alcain, JICA Philippine Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema, JICA Philippines Senior Program Officer Lara Javier, Licensed Psychometrician Hannah Sanchez, Actor Jairus Aquino, and other children participants.
The DSWD will continue to create partnerships and conduct innovative projects to ease the burden of children and to find hope in the new normal.