Due to the spread of Corona virus infection, we are now facing a situation that we could not have imagined from our daily life so far. In the activity areas of the Children’s Forest Program (CFP), the impact is great that schools have been closed and restrictions of movement have continued, and there are many areas where we can’t carry out activities.
In the midst of the transformation of what was previously accepted as “a matter of course” we also had to reassess our past activities due to the Corona pandemic. What can we do for the children and communities working together so far ? While considering the role that is required, we will introduce the newly launched initiatives from each site.
Staff, OISCA Manila Office
In the Philippines, from the middle of March 2020, quarantine measures have been taken in wide areas to restrict behavior and economic activities, disrupting the society. Home-based learning continues in school education and the learning environment for children is also seriously affected. In CFP, we strive to deliver hope and support communities that have been isolated due to the restrictions, and above all, we are carrying out activities that give top priority to children.
From April to June 2020 when severe restrictions were instituted national-wide, OISCA distributed food packs, masks and sanitation goods such as soaps to the people in the rural areas where it is hard to reach the government support.
On May 5 in Sariaya, Quezon Province, OISCA staff together with health workers distributed food packs to 55 families who are in need of life having malnourished children. OISCA also donated masks made of cloth to the health workers.
On July 3 in Capalonga, Camarines Norte Province, OISCA organized a seminar on environmental conservation and measures against infectious diseases for teachers of CFP schools. OISCA also donated mobile hand washing devices to 7 schools participants in the seminar.
From October 5, 2020, studies were resumed in public elementary and high schools, but face-to-face classes were not conducted and home study is continuing. Most of the CFP participating schools are located in the rural areas, and they don’t have sufficient internet environment. Therefore, many children are studying at home by a method called module learning in which they work on assignment prints from school. In order to support children learning in this new format, OISCA, in consultation with the government and schools in each province, are supporting educational materials.
In addition to the enormous labor and costs for creating assignments every week, materials and equipment are insufficient, and schools are troubled. Moreover, teachers have to regularly visit families in which parents have difficulties of teaching and to support studies.
In order to support education for children and teachers struggling in preparing teaching materials, OISCA donated module learning materials such as copy papers, ink and used printers meeting the needs of each school.
Since it has become difficult to carry out tree planting and environment education by school as a whole, they changed the conventional method of activities. From the time when restrictions were partially relaxed, tree planting at school was reopened by small group, and also distributed seedlings and promoted tree planting at home and vegetable cultivation so that environment and nutrition for children would be improved. Furthermore, we started new efforts such as seminars by utilizing online so as not to stop awareness for environmental protection.
Online seminars were conducted for school children and students. Although there are challenges, it was possible to participate from remote areas enabling to target a greater number of participants．