DSWD, Red Cross give therapy to children evacuees

THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has established temporary day care centers to address the needs of children evacuees housed at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex in Zamboanga City.

Greta Martinez, DSWD regional office Early Childhood Care and Development focal person, said the day care services and supplemental feedings as well as play therapy are regularly being provided to children.

The DSWD have partnered with the Philippine Red Cross in handling the day care program as well as the supervised neighborhood play program for the children, Martinez said.

She said they have established four temporary day care centers with one placed in each of the four zones at the sports complex.

The sports complex houses more than 70 percent of the thousands of families displaced by the standoff since it is the biggest among the 38 established evacuation centers.

Martinez said they also provide the children with supplemental feeding after the day care session with the support of the World Food Program.

Martinez said a minimum of 50 and maximum of 75 children aged two to six attend the day care sessions, which include fun activities like kiddie games, storytelling, drawing, and coloring.

“These simple and easy activities aim to help the kids process their experiences and return to normalcy,” she said.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman said that the most vulnerable sector -- the children -- must be protected citing their growth and development must not suffer amidst the crisis brought about by the standoff in this city.
Martinez said that two day care sessions are being conducted daily by volunteer workers who are under the supervision of DSWD.

Apart from the Red Cross, Martinez said they have also partnered with the Community and Family Services International for the conduct of play therapy with children and set up child-friendly spaces for each of the four zones in the sports complex.

Other organizations such as the Church-based organization Katelingban, Bethany School, and the Federation of the First District also contribute in the provision of day care services program inside the evacuation centers.
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