Marikina children share hopes, dreams in post-Ulysses psychosocial help session

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 09 2020 08:38 PM

Marikina children share hopes, dreams in post-Ulysses psychosocial help session 1
Children from Marikina City who were affected by the heavy flooding last month due to typhoon Ulysses make Christmas lanterns where they also write their dreams and wishes as part of a psychosocial intervention being administered on Dec. 8, 2020 by the NGO Children's Rehabilitation Center. Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

For over a minute, the laughter and voices of some 25 children reverberated inside the unfinished multi-purpose building of Barangay Malanday in Marikina City on Tuesday.

The kids were taking part in an “action dance” as part of the psychosocial intervention being administered by the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, a non-government organization that helps children recover from their trauma due to the recent flooding caused by typhoon Ulysses.

“Isa sa main aim talaga ng psychosocial intervention na ito 'yung mapataas yung morale ng mga bata, maliban doon sa pagde-debrief sa kanila, at mapa-realize sa kanila yung importance ng collective na pagbangon,” CRC social worker Vinzar Samiana said.

(One of the main objectives of this psychosocial intervention is to lift the morale of the children, aside from debriefing them, and to make them realize the importance of collective recovery.)

Fourteen-year old Vincent Ulysses and his mother Yolanda Timulap were among those who sought refuge in the community’s multi-purpose building as Ulysses ravaged Metro Manila beginning November 11.

From the building’s third floor, Vincent and Yolanda helplessly watched their shanty being engulfed by floodwaters, along with most of their neighbors’ houses.

“Nalungkot po ako nang sobra. Kasi po, ano eh, matagal na po yung bahay po namin na nakatayo eh, tapos po ano, sa isang bagyo lang, nasira na po,” Vincent said.

(I feel very sad because our house has been there for a long time already yet, after just one storm, it's gone.)

Asked for his reaction each time he sees the rain after Ulysses, Vincent said: “Kinakabahan po, tapos po, nalulungkot kasi po baka maulit uli eh.”

(I feel nervous and sad because I fear there will be a repeat of what we went through.)

What’s left of their house after typhoon Ulysses were crumpled corrugated roofs and plywoods.

All their belongings were swept away by the flood, Yolanda said.

Samiana observed that all the children they have attended to were traumatized by the effects of typhoon Ulysses.

The social worker said children who display signs of anxiety or other serious mental health issues will immediately be referred to health professionals.

Aside from singing and dancing, the CRC also teaches children participants how to make colorful little Christmas lanterns.

The lanterns were given a special touch by asking the children to write there their dreams and wishes for their family and community.

Some of the wishes written by the kids include seeing a community where no one steals, as well as a place where people are disciplined to clean their surroundings.

The participants said they also hope to finish their education so they can serve the country as dedicated teachers, policemen, and engineers, among others.

For 13-year-old John Quirine Amancio who failed to enroll for the current school year, part of his registered promise on his lantern is to be an engineer, so he can build a “big house” for his family.

“Yung iba po, itutulong ko sa mahihirap. At saka po, gagawa po ako ng malaking bahay para sa aming pamilya… Sana po hindi na po kami magkasakit… Sana po wala ng sakunang magaganap,” Amancio said.

(I will help the poor. And I will build a big house for my family. I hope we won't get sick. I hope there will be no more calamities.)

Amancio's mother, Geronima, also has her own set of wishes that she wants to write on her own “lantern of hope”.

“Pangarap po sana namin, sana hindi na bumaha dito sa lugar namin. Tapos sana, magkaroon na uli kami ng gamit namin. Tapos yung lugar namin - hindi na sila makapaglaro - sana, maayos na yung lugar namin,” she said.

(We hope our place will no longer be flooded. Also, we wish to have our own things again. And we hope our place can be fixed so the kids can play again there.)

Yolanda, who is a solo parent to Vincent, admits that this Christmas will be a more difficult one for the two of them.

“Gusto ko pong sabihin sa kanya ngayong Pasko eh, ingatan nya ako, kasi iniingatan ko siya eh,” Yolanda said.

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