By Lady Jean L. Kabagani

MARAWI CITY, March 27 (PIA ICCC) – While the ongoing physical rehabilitation of this conflict-afflicted city continues, peace advocacies are also being pursued by several stakeholders.

Save the Children Philippines is one of those organizations which relentlessly pursue peace. To every crisis it responds, it urgently demands an end to hostilities, as the surest route to achieving its vision of a world where every child is safe, healthy and free to learn.

Save the Children Philippines is an international child-focus organization that commences its 100th year with the centenary theme: Stop the War on Children.

It seeks to uphold its vision of creating a world where children don’t just survive, but thrive and enjoy fulfilling and productive lives, building them an environment of peace and protecting them from the current state of widespread war and violence that is threatening their progress to achieve a better future.

Continuing peace efforts

One of the activities the organization has recently conducted was the Artists for Peace Mentoring Workshop to conflict-affected learners from the identified partner-schools in Marawi City. The workshop was collaboratively implemented with Teach Peace Build Peace Movement under the Pathways-iCOPE project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Australia. This was one of the many initiatives of Save the Children Philippines together with the Department of Education to pave the road to Marawi’s recovery particularly in the aspects of culturally-appropriate education, conflict-sensitive protection and peace-building.

The activity provided a creative venue and dialogue for Maranao students from Grade 4-6 to experience a platform of exchange, sharing of stories and reflection and expression of their desire for peace in the context of armed-conflict and in general.

The artists for peace mentors taught the learners to identify peace concepts focusing on peace with self, others and the environment as well as to understand the concept of peace heroism.

Children were educated to determine the theory, style and techniques of art advocacy while learning about the stories of their fellow participants. They were introduced to various platforms like visual arts, performing arts and digital media. They created and installed peace murals and painting, learned about photography and filmmaking and trained in spoken words expressing what sparks peace and joy to them and what they can do to help create a peaceful community, free from abuse, violence, and conflict.

During its “Children for Peace Festival” at Bae Inomba Blo Bacarat Central Elementary School, Dayawan, Marawi City last March 25, the children presented their outputs through an immersive and interactive gallery and performance show. More than 500 learners attended the activity.

The event also had fun activities for children audiences and booth installation by local partners and NGOs to accommodate the visiting communities.

Save the Children Philippines believes that when working towards a vision of peace, conflict transformation and peace-building efforts are important strategies to minimize and address violent conflict and security concerns which adversely affect the lives of children and their families.

Marawi children were exposed to situations of terror and horror during the siege – leaving them psychological and mental anguish. The organization believes that these kinds of activities will progressively rebuild their faith in this world by training them as advocates to create a peaceful environment where they can play freely and go to schools safely.

“With the shared efforts and support of its partners and donors, the Children for Peace Festival has become a peace building avenue to cultivate peace among conflict-affected children through arts,” Save the Children Philippines said.

For the Save the Children Philippines, children are not just mere victims of war but also partners in building a peaceful world in many centuries to come. (LJKabagani/PIA ICCC)

Coverphoto by: Save the Children Philippines