DSWD needs more volunteer-psychologists for 'Sendong' survivors

February 5, 2012 11:41 am 

MANILA, Feb. 4–Secretary Dinky Soliman discusses the need for more volunteer-psychologists in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to conduct stress debriefing sessions to survivors of ‘Sendong’ during the ‘Bulong-Pulungan’ Media Forum held at Sofitel.

“We need additional volunteer -psychologists to assist DSWD social workers in providing stress debriefing to the survivors of typhoon ‘Sendong,’ especially the children who were traumatized by the disaster, which badly hit Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City last December,” Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stated during the recent ‘Bulong-Pulungan’ Media Forum held at Sofitel, Manila.

The typhoon ‘Sendong’ survivors still need stress debriefing and psycho-social counselling to recover from the trauma wrought by the disaster. “They need to recover their capacity for hope and rebuild their lives, families and communities,” as emphasized by the DSWD Secretary.

Last January 21, DSWD brought in young volunteers from the Dynamic Teen Company-Caring Children founded by CNN Hero of the Year Awardee Efren G. Peñaflorida, Jr. , who conducted play therapy and peer counselling sessions to the children survivors of ‘Sendong’ at the Pedro N. Roa Elementary School and Macasandig Barangay Hall in Cagayan de Oro City. The five children, 11 to 15 years old, who were themselves survivors of abuse listened to their peers as they related their terrible ordeal at the height of typhoon ‘Sendong.’

“There was this 12 year-old boy named Armii who participated in the peer counselling session held at the Pedro N. Roa Elementary School, and he wanted to commit suicide because he felt so guilty that he survived while his youngest brother, six years old Alexander, is still missing. He was comforted by 13 year old Kezs Valdez, one of the children – volunteers from Efren Penaflorida’s group. Armii shared that he was encouraged by Kezs’ story of survival from an abused, impoverished child to a thoughtful and caring individual who spent his 13th birthday last December distributing Christmas gifts to the children-victims of ‘Sendong.’ "Kezs gave me hope to go on despite the tragedy which happened to our family,” Secretary Soliman related Armii’s testimony.

“The survivors just need to tell their stories to lessen the trauma they are experiencing. At the same time, they also need to deal with survivors’ guilt, (that they survived and some of their family members died). That is why we are requesting organizations and institutions to send volunteers trained to conduct psycho-social sessions to survivors, “Secretary Soliman appealed.

On February 5, volunteer – pastors, nuns, and psychologists will go to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to assist the social workers from DSWD Central and Field Offices, local government units and non-government organizations in conducting psycho-social counselling. ### (DSWD-Social Marketing Service) February 4, 2012(PNA)

RSV/PR-DSWD

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