Earlier this year in the Philippines, we gathered the children in our Survivor Care and evacuated to remain safe from the eruption of a nearby volcano. Now, because of COVID-19, we’re sheltering in place in our safe homes. 2020 has been difficult because one of the most important things for children recovering from trauma is stability. It’s a struggle — and we know that our presence and calm in the chaos is what we must offer right now. The safe home is like an oasis. I’ve always said: A safe home should be safe, and a safe home should be a home. And that is truer today than ever: children must know they will not experience danger or lack right now. We are defending them.
Even before it was ordered, the children were pulled from school, and are homeschooling. While the daily activities are structured around education, even though we’ve locked down the safe home, everybody is having fun.
All staff now stay in, except for those who are buying food. Food access locally is an issue for us and many supermarkets are skeletal at this point, so we’re relying more and more on our own safe home farm. We have chickens, catfish ponds, beekeeping, mushroom growing, and many vegetables from our farm. We use moringa and papaya leaves grown on our property to boost immunity. We’ve always used our garden and farm therapeutically, but they mean even more to the children now.
What also means so much is knowing we are all in this together as humanity. That includes you. So in that spirit, let these words directly from the children in our care encourage you today, as we survive together: “You need to fight. Strengthen your body’s resistance and be brave. Do not panic and avoid crowds.” “What the world experiences today will soon end. It will turn into light, and the fear that the people feel will soon be gone.”
Thank you for being steady for children during this time when they need it.