Training volunteers in psychosocial support in North Cotabato
When a magnitude 6.6 earthquake rocked North Cotabato last October 2019, 51-year old Merlina’s village was at the epicentre. More than 2,000 houses were damaged or destroyed leaving 12,000 people sheltering in 19 evacuation centres across the province.
Despite losing her own home, Merlina extended her support to children affected by the quake. A community leader, she wanted to help children get their sense of normalcy back so enrolled onto a psychosocial support training course provided by Plan International and its implementing partner, Balay Mindanaw.
“The training helped me a lot, especially on using a rights-based approach in dealing with children – to understand that their needs are equally important,” she says.
The three-day workshop, funded by the Start Network, taught 52 community volunteers which included day care workers as well as adult and youth volunteers, how to manage play activities and referral systems. Participants were taught social and recreational activities they could use to engage children in child-friendly spaces, as well as how to communicate properly with them.
“We are thankful to Plan International because of the mental health and psychosocial support. We are now able to help children deal with their stress,” Merlina says.