A success story: UNO-R students supporting SDC kids

The summer holidays have started as it is getting increasingly hot in the Philippines. The first batch of UNO-R students have now completed their volunteering mission at the SDC. Over the last six months, two social worker students, two psychology students, and a group of criminology students have put a lot of energy in supporting the SDC.

The psychology trainees spent time and devotion for the SDC children within a comprehensive support program, which included various objectives: enhancing the children's creativity, cooperation and thinking skills, helping on their social and emotional concerns, regaining their self-esteem and facilitating their social integration, teaching them about their social roles and responsibilities, and building coping skills. The skilled and passionate young social workers offered their dedicated and tailored support to the children. They worked on developing their physical and creative skills, assisting the children’s concerns regarding the status of their legal cases, helping them to reconcile with their families, and also emphasizing on the importance of education. Also, the criminology students effectively helped to improve the children's awareness on legal enforcement and childrights, to develop the children’s physical skills through sports activities, as well as to ensure the children's safety and security within the center.

A 'despedida' (local dialect for 'farewell') was organized at the end of their placement at the SDC last month. The Peace Corps volunteer, deployed at the center, along with Virlanie and HOST-NGO team, awarded the students with certificates of appreciation. This farewell party was quite emotional as the kids thanked them for their involvement and gave them plenty of hugs! The University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) also organized a recognition ceremony for their partners, which include the SDC. As a fully involved organization at the SDC, our team was requested to share with the audience the importance of the students' resources dedicated to this public center, and to explain how the People-Private-Public Partnership (PPPP) concept could benefit to every stakeholder.

Our team is now looking forward to welcome the next batch of UNO-R students in June to share new knowledge and experiences with the children and staff at the SDC.


Aikido at SDC: a healthy mind in a healthy body

Since the launching of aikido activities at SDC last August, the interest of the children has been growing despite the initial doubts raising from the local staff and some neighbouring communities. Indeed a few people have been worried that this new program would actually promote the use of violence for these young teenagers who are already invoved into a violent environment. However it rapidly proved that there would not be any negative outcome generated by this activity. Mostly used to practicing basketball, the children really appreciate this new way of getting conscious of their body while stimulating their mind. Mind setting is a major factor in the practice of this martial art which was created in the 1950's aside to ju-jitsu, kenjutsu (art of saber) and aikijujitsu (art of harmonizing energies). A healthy mind in a healthy body: these are two inseparable and complementary entities!

Week after week, around 15 children have been initiated to the various self-defense techniques taught by the team of volunteers from Warriors For Peace (http://bacolod-partners.blogspot.com/2012/08/conflict-management-prevention-with.html). The latter made sure that the children were mature enough to adopt a non-violent approach in order to prevent any risk of incident between the young people and also toward the staff.

The 12 matresses required for the practice have been funded by HOST-NGO, thanks to our generous donors. In order to educate the children on the importance to preserve the equipment at the SDC, and also as a way of reducing the costs, they have been involved into the making of the matresses. Kenneth L. Materum, volunteer from Warriors For Peace, and one of our volunteer from HOST-NGO, have run the workshops teaching to the children how to assemble the plywood slabs with the layers made of rubber and styrofoam, which were then wrapped with vinyl plastic.

The frequency of the sessions has been increased to twice a week at the SDC. The practice room has become an actual Dojo with this new equipment, which enabled to set-up the same routines as the ones to be found all over Asia and throughout the world. The practice has also been enhanced with the viewing of documentaries on aikido. This program is already successful as some of the young participants are willing to enter a Dojo when they will leave the center. Warriors For Peace is committed to help them achieve that goal. This will be an amazing reward considering the patient and passionate contribution from Warriors For Peace, which has been striving for years to promote peace and dialogue between the communities on the Negros Island.