During a peace camp, which was held in Quezon City in the beginning of March 2018, hundreds of children were able to express their views and feelings through art. A lot of them come from demolished communities, are part of local migrant families or are members of child rights organizations. The Children’s Rehabilitation Center, a local KIYO partner, gave these children the tools to express themselves and proved that these kids are very aware and understanding of what is happening around them.
During the day, a variety of activities were organized for everyone to take part in. Through theatre performances, a group of children questioned the justice in the world, referring to the massive poverty, the child victims for the war on drugs, and the inaccessibility of quality education.
They also organized a workshop where children, through the creation of posters, were made aware about environment degradation, child victims of the Dengvaxia dengue vaccination program and Martial Law in Mindanao. The children longed for a loving, clean, healthy and peaceful community. The youth wanted to assert their right to participate.
In addition, a musical group sang songs about oppression and their desire to claim their rights. One youngster used rap music to convey about parents’ clamor for land, decent jobs, wages and human rights. There were also story telling sessions, a poetry writing workshop and group dancing.
Among the crowd was Ronnie, a fourth grader, who said that it was his second time to attend a peace camp. He mentioned that he liked attending events such as the peace camp because he was learning things that are not taught in school, such as the situations of the Lumad (indigenous peoples in Mindanao) and militarization. He lamented that his classmates did not believe him every time he would share what he learned during the events as a Children’s Collective member. However, he was happy that his teacher said that he was telling the truth.
According to the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, the peace camp helps children to express their feelings about their experiences and to relieve tensions through the art workshops.
Earlier in the day, the children and their families also joined other groups in an advocacy run around the public park, led by Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, another KIYO partner. The event sought justice and indemnification for the victims of the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine, and accountability from the previous and current government officials involved in the vaccination program.