Toys, books sought for therapy of kids scarred by conflict in Mamasapano
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A ranking health official in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Sunday appealed for “used but playable toys and books” to help children in conflict afflicted town of Mamasapano, Maguindanao, to overcome fear and anxiety.
“After a series of health interventions in the war-affected communities in Mamasapano, we found out that trauma brought about by the January 25 clashes is the most difficult to manage,” Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr., ARMM regional health secretary, said of the children of Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
“Fear, anxiety, uncertainty and worries were the most common terms to describe feelings of the affected population,” he added.
“Five or six of 10 children have manifested the deep effects of the conflict. They were traumatized. In many instances that I visited them, many have shown they were affected psychologically. Many appeared dazed, staring off in space,” Sinolinding told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
To help villagers, especially the children, Sinolinding launched an intervention that would help the villagers overcome their fears and anxiety.
Dubbed as “Laruang Pambata, Alay sa Kapayapaan (Toys for Children, Offering for Peace),” the campaign seeks to solicit donations in kind such as toys for children.
“May I appeal for used but playable toys, children’s books and magazines for the children of Mamasapano,” he said.
“Kindly avoid items that remind them of war like toy guns, blades, weapons, toy tanks, etc,” he added.
For those who would like to help, Sinolinding suggests that toys and books be dropped at collection units in the ARMM.
Collection units include all Rural Health Units and government hospitals in the ARMM.
Sinolinding also asked local media organizations in Central Mindanao region to open their offices as drop-off points.
“I shall appreciate your partnership,” he said of the media organizations.
Sinolinding said donors outside the region could contact Department of Health (DOH-ARMM) regional office in Cotabato City through telephone numbers (064)421-6842 and (064)421-3988; email at [email protected]; or visit its website www.doharmm.gov.ph.