By Lady Jean L. Kabagani

MARAWI CITY, May 8 (PIA ICCC) – “Children must learn peace and human rights to protect themselves from abuse,” according to “Save the Children Philippines” ambassadress and beauty titlist.

Miss World Philippines 2018 Katarina Rodriguez took a new role as Save the Children Philippines Ambassador to raise awareness on the impact of the war on children especially those affected by the Marawi siege.

Rodriguez spent time with some 40 children for a read-along-and-art activity last Sunday here as part of her role as the new ambassador to promote children’s rights.

This is also part of the psychosocial services given by the Save the Children Philippines to the young Maranaos who had experienced inexplicable trauma from the war.

Kids also received learning materials from the organization.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez emphasized the lessons about peace to help develop desirable attitude among children toward peace during their formative years. “We need to educate children about the value of peace during their formative years,” she said.

Children raised their rights hands in support to Save the Children campaign: Stop the War Against Children.      (Photo by Lady Jean L. Kabagani/PIA ICCC)

Instilling peace in youngsters

Reggie Aquino, humanitarian manager of Save the Children Philippines said children are agents of change and must be made aware of their rights to prevent the cycle of abuse.

The learning session for children aged 7-15 years old is under the program dubbed “Children in the Philippines are Not for Sale Project,” funded by Radiohjalpen, which educates children about their rights to protection against violence including rape, human trafficking, and recruitment by rebels.

“Together with our partners, a peace-building culture is cultivated among these children through the form of art. We are looking at children not just as victims of war but as partners in creating and maintaining peace,” Aquino said.

She said children’s activities include “mural painting” on the theme  “Make Art Not War,” to enhance capacities of children to prevent abuse and exploitation in a conflict setting.

“Save the Children stands together with communities and other stakeholders in protecting children living in conflict,” Aquino pointed out.

Katarina Rodriguez spent an art session with Marawi Children as part of psychosocial intervention of Save the Children Philippines for the young victims of Marawi siege. (Photo by Lady Jean L. Kabagani/PIA ICCC)

As the Save the Children is celebrating its 100th year this coming May 19, it hopes that the global campaign, “Stop the War on Children,” will be able to raise awareness among the public by advocating resolutions to the devastating and lifelong impact of the war against children.

Save the Children has looked into the condition of some 420 million children living in conflict areas across the world including the Philippines through its study titled “Stop the War on Children.” (LJKbagani/PIA ICCC/Save the Children)