TACLOBAN – More than 80,000 children in Typhoon Yolanda-ravaged areas in Tacloban went back to school Monday with the reopening of day care centers across the city.
“It is a happy occasion that young children will again benefit from day care centers. It is also very helpful for our social workers and day care center workers to return to their regular jobs,” said Elsa Onida, chair of ECCD sub-cluster for Region VIII, Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Onida said children in the disaster-hit city now have an opportunity to learn and play as an essential part of their development, to help them cope with the difficulties they experienced through the disaster and to prepare their readiness to enter elementary schools at the age of 5.
The UNICEF -- in partnering with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Office of the City and Municipal Mayors in Regions VI and VIII -- provided Early Childhood Care and Development Kits, tarpaulins and furniture to over 800 most heavily affected day care centers.
The kits include educational toys to help cognitive development, storybooks, musical instruments and the most essential learning materials that were destroyed by the typhoon.
Restoration efforts of day care centers in areas which sustained massive destruction are being led by the DSWD, with the support also of UNICEF and partners.
“Following the early-January back-to-learning and reopening of schools, the reopening of Day Care Centers marks yet another significant step toward disaster recovery and much needed normalcy for younger children,” said Angela Kearney, Representative a.i., UNICEF Philippines.
“With mounting evidence on how important early years in a child’s life are, UNICEF is keen to see the Day Care Centers operational alongside the schools in all affected areas. We hope that the launch will serve as a platform to consider further actions and investment in young children,” she added.
UNICEF had supported the DSWD's campaign to inform parents of the reopening via radio broadcasts, text messaging and community mobilization efforts, calling on them to bring their children back to the centers.
Day care workers, meanwhile, will receive training on psychosocial support on education in emergencies.