Together with fellow bloggers and other friends from the media, I was invited to Tacloban last June 6, 2014 to witness the turnover of the playground built by Johnson and Johnson Philippines in line with their active play advocacy, the Di Lang Laro ang Laro. For this campaign, the Johnson’s Baby team, in partnership with the Department of Education and Play Pilipinas, takes a proactive stance in helping school-aged kids overcome the Yolanda typhoon trauma through the promotion of active play by bringing the program to one of the schools in Tacloban, the Sagkahan Elementary School. It was such an uplifting sight to see the kids happily running in excitement towards the playground as it was formally announced open.
I truly I admire how the Active Play team pushes its advocacy of promoting an hour of active play every day for the holistic development of kids. They bring it to places, no matter how far it is, just so they could reach out to where it is need the most . The playground built in Sagkahan is the first ever children’s school playground in Leyte after Yolanda (the most powerful storm in recent world history, which killed thousands of lives and destroyed thousands of infrastructures).
The turnover ceremony of the playground was simple yet beautiful and heartwarming. It happened in the school ground where kids and guests witnessed the turnover under makeshift tents. You could feel how happy the Active Play team is in being able to build a playground for the kids and you could also feel how grateful the students, teachers and school administrators are for the new facilities donated.
According to Niceta Galura, the school principal, pupils in Sagkahan posted a 100 percent attendance on June 2, the first day of school. This is brought about by t kids’ excitement to play in the newly-built playground. The playground designed by Sigrid Perez is indeed a great place where kids could engage in active play by enjoying the tree house, slides, swings and more, built just for them. This way, kids could somehow forget the nightmare brought about by the destructive typhoon.
During the short turnover program, the DepEd regional director, Dr. Luisa S. Yu, recognized in her talk the importance of active play and the healing process behind it. “Play is therapeutic. It will help heal the wounds of Yolanda”, she said. She also encouraged students to balance their academics and play time.
Aside from the children’s playground, J&J employees also graciously collected toys and books for the kids. They were able to gather more than a thousand which were also given that day.
Life goes on indeed in Sagkahan Elementary School as kids are back to school in with their new playground and in their makeshift classrooms (shown below). Their classrooms were built by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in partnership with the Red Cross Society of China across Tacloban.
We have sent love though the little gifts we’ve shared right after Yolanda struck Tacloban, and just in case you would like to see how our kababayans are now, I am inviting you to watch the video below.
Indeed, playtime is not just playtime for the kids of Tacloban.
Thank you J&J, DepEd and Play Pilipinas for the priceless smiles brought about by the playground you have built. I feel honored to be invited to witness the turnover of such a beautiful project!