DSWD, JICA launch children’s books promoting mental health during the pandemic

Published June 19, 2022, 2:48 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista (right) receives books promoting children’s mental health from Japan International Cooperation Agency-Philippines Chief Representative Sakamoto Takema (left). (DSWD)

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), has launched an activity book and a comic book that could help ease the mental health risks of the pandemic to Filipino children and youth.

The activity book titled, “Sarilaysay, (Sariling Salaysay, Isang Activity Book Para sa Malusog na Pag-Iisip ng mga Batang Pilipino)” aims to assist children aged five to nine to express themselves, meditate, and handle stress during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the “Eroplanong Papel” comic book, which will be distributed to children and youth aged 10-17, features relatable characters that will “help address the fears and worries of children and youth in adapting with the new normal situation.”

Sarilaysay was illustrated by Randy Valiente, while Eroplanong Papel was drawn by Dominic Agsaway. Both materials were written by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz.

The advocacy materials will be distributed to children in DSWD-managed residential care facilities and other beneficiaries of the DSWD and CWC.

During the launch, Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista discussed the importance of the materials.

He said: “With the pandemic affecting the overall health and well-being of children, the DSWD and CWC partnered with JICA to create a project to address the mental health risks brought by Covid-19 to Filipino children.”

“One of the effective strategies identified by the three agencies is to develop child-friendly information materials that will help guide children in residential care facilities and in poor communities to cope with the changes brought by the pandemic to their lives,” he added.

Bautista received copies of Sarilaysay and Eroplanong Papel from JICA-Philippines Chief Representative Sakamoto Takema in a simple turnover ceremony on June 2.