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Closing Mission after Typhoon Haiyan and Support for the Peace Process

The Philippines are hit by natural catastrophes again and again. Typhoon “Haiyan” however, which hit the island country in November 2013, did worse damage than ever before, thousands of people lost their lives. In previous 5 missions, the international mission team of the Friends of Waldorf Education supported people in processing their traumatic experiences. In addition, local colleagues were trained in the methods of emergency pedagogy and offered continuing education courses in regular monitoring-visits.

The sixth mission and project visit now taking place in the region of Leyte is at the same time the closing mission and transfer of the project into the hands of 9 local professionals. Marlon Moscare, who has been our contact person on location since the first mission, together with his wife, arranged for the construction of the first Child Friendly Space and has contributed significantly to shaping the project. In the meantime, 3 Child Friendly Spaces could be constructed in Tacloban, where pedagogical measures take place daily for ca. 200 children. Also a music exchange programme could be organised with the Acacia-School Manila in February 2016.

In addition to the closing project visit, the emergency pedagogues will travel to the region of Cotabato/Mindanao for the first time. There they will to give seminars. The invitation for this this was already expressed in 2014. The people in Cotabato suffer, in addition to natural catastrophes—the province is shaken over and over again by earthquakes—from the difficult social conditions and ethnic conflicts. For decades now, conflicts between government supporters and the independence movement have erupted. To date, the civil war has costed 100,000 people their lives and has made more than two million people refugees in their own country. Many feel robbed of their chances and especially children are affected by the situation.
To help them with emergency pedagogy offerings and to inform local professionals about trauma pedagogy and helpful methods, are the goals of our volunteers. Moreover, this mission should support the peace process in the region. Our local partner organised Kids for Peace Foundation the local seminars. They report, that employees who advice the president in the peace process, as well as employees of Catholic Relief, Save The Children, BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), Non-Violent Peace Force, The Asia Foundation, ChildFund, two school, and local NGOs have already registered for the seminars. Also participation by representatives from the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, who are fighting for an independent Muslim country, is expected.

This means, that at this meeting of opposing parties for the joint mission to help the children, regardless of religion or group, they also have the chance to design the peace process and to advance it.

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