MANILA – Good Neighbors International Philippines (GNIP) announces the new programs for children, especially children with disabilities, children with the risk of disasters, and the youth through its partnership with Sun Life Foundation and UNICEF.
These programs are launched during the culmination of the 2021 National Children’s Month of the Council for the Welfare of Children this November 26.
It comprises three programs that focus on inclusivity, disaster risk reduction, and education. The programs are as follows Inclusion for Learning Accommodation and Welfare or ILAW Project, Inclusive Child-Led Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program, and the Scholarship Program.
The Inclusion for Learning Accommodation and Welfare or ILAW Project is a partnership of Good Neighbors PHL, the daughter organization of GNIP, and Sun Life Foundation for the children with disabilities in the community of Sitio Bakal, Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City.
“Through this collaboration, we hope to improve our beneficiaries access to quality education, establish child protection systems for children with disabilities, collaborate with medical allied professionals, the academe, civil society organizations, as well as government agencies in promoting the rights of the children and enhancing the knowledge of parents and other stakeholders,” Hiyasmin Ledi Mattison, Chief Human Resources Officer of Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) said.
This project will directly benefit 30 children with disabilities and indirectly benefit 2,600 individuals in Sitio Bakal.
Part of the programs will provide children with disabilities with access to assistive devices, learning aids; and provide capacity-building activities, policy advocacy, coordination, and management to parents, guardians, educators, and local officials. Furthermore, this will strengthen and empower them to implement disability-inclusive programs and services for children.
In 2020, GNIP and UNICEF conceptualized and announced last year an innovative project that addresses the disaster-related needs and problems of children with disabilities and the Indigenous Peoples in the Angeles City, Pampanga.
The area is the home of the Aetas where most of them have been forced to resettlement areas in Pampanga and Tarlac after Mt. Pinatubo’s explosion in 1991. Further, this city has recorded a significant number of children with disabilities.
“GNIP and UNICEF will be introducing and launching a number of advocacy models and materials that will help in our national advocacy towards the inclusiveness of children with disabilities and indigenous people on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management,” Senior Manager of Economic Development Division Visitacion Apostol said.
Children with disabilities are often excluded in the DRR planning and decision-making processes, thus most DRR plans do not reflect their specific needs and challenges. Similarly, indigenous children can be extremely affected by disasters due to their remoteness. Their indigenous identity, cultural heritage, and intrinsic connection to their lands can be threatened when faced with natural disasters and socio-political upheavals.
The launching of the advocacy materials will be announced soon. These advocacy materials are made inclusive for children, especially children with disabilities and IPs.
GNIP ventures a new opportunity for young people through the provision of a full scholarship and youth development sessions for senior and junior high school students in its 10 community development project areas nationwide.
“Good Neighbors International Philippines has launched a new scholarship program for youth. And they are talented students who have the potential to become future leaders but they cannot continue their education, because of the economic situation of their families,” Jae Choon Lee, Country Director of GNIP said.
“May mga batang nag-aaral na sila rin ang tumutugon sa kanilang pangangailangan. Mga naiwan ng mga magulang at napilitang magtrabaho para dito. At ang mga istoryang ito ay isang malaking pakinabang para sa atin. Para mamulat tayo sa katotohanan na ang bawat bata ay may karapatang makapag-aral at ang scholarship program ay isang malaking tulong at opportunidad para sa kanila,” Reymart Parungao, Education and Child Protection Staff said.
(There are children who provide for their education needs, children that have been left by their parents, and children who have no choice but to work for their education. And these stories are significant for us to be aware of the truth that every child has the right to education. And this scholarship program is a great opportunity and help for them.)
From more than 1000 students who applied to the scholarship program, 100 students were chosen for the school year 2021-2022. These students are the ones who passed the qualification process, initial screening, and final interview.
The program will provide the chosen scholars with a full scholarship, tuition, transportation, uniform, and other school expenses.
Through these projects, Good Neighbors International Philippines, together with UNICEF and Sun Life Foundation will make sure that children with or without disabilities will be protected, supported, and not be left behind.