By Wilnard Bacelonia

MARAWI CITY, April 9 (PIA-ICCC) – Almost a hundred displaced children from the nine recipient-schools gathered at the clubhouse of Marawi Resort and Hotel Monday to participate in “Marawi Children and Youth Peace Summit” spearheaded by the World Vision Philippines in partnership with Marawi City Schools Division (MCSD).

According to City Schools Division Assistant Superintendent Ana Zenaida Unte, the children in Marawi need special attention and consideration because of their vulnerability to ISIS-linked Maute group recruitment.

“We need to strengthen our teachings about peace, respect and love for their family and the community. They are also being taught of the different ways on how to handle conflict. Their facilitation and leadership skills were also developed,” she said.

During the whole-day summit, the displaced children were engaged in games, teambuilding, sharing their experiences, and dialogue.

Alrazzak Magarang, one of the participants, admitted that he was a bully to his friends before, but he learned from the summit that it was wrong, and that he should be a good influence to other children.

“Now, I tend to advise my fellow students to do good and be instruments in achieving peace. If we want peace and prevent the Marawi siege from happening again, we should all be patient and humble at all times,” the 12-year-old student noted.

The peace summit aims to give the Marawi children a chance to express themselves and identify what are the areas they need to work on, World Vision Operations Director Xenia Legaspi explained.

“I am very inspired with these children’s stories. They’re very special to us and we’ll find other ways to help them recover,” Legaspi assured.

World Vision is an International Christian Humanitarian Organization present in 100 countries around the globe, focusing primarily on the wellbeing of children.

It continues to implement its Marawi Peace and Protection project in this war-torn city, which aims to help strengthen government-mandated structures, faith-based and traditional structures for peace and child protection.

The initiative also empowers at least 1,600 boys and girls and about 400 adults, including teachers, faith and barangay leaders on various peace and child protection promotion activities. (WLBacelonia/PIA-ICCC)