80,000 children return to day care centres across Typhoon Yolanda-ravaged areas
TACLOBAN, Philippines, 27 January 2014 – Today is the official reopening of day care centres across Typhoon Yolanda-ravaged areas. In Regions VI and VIII, under the leadership of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Office of the City and Municipal Mayors, UNICEF and partners are supporting an estimated 80,000 young children to return to the centres.
Day care centres across affected areas have also sustained massive destruction and damage. Restoration efforts are led by the DSWD and supported by UNICEF and partners.
This gives younger children aged 3 to 4 an opportunity to learn and play as an essential part of their development; to help them cope with the difficulties they experienced through the disaster; and to prepare their readiness to enter elementary schools at the age of 5.
"It is a happy occasion that young children will again benefit from day care centres. It is also very helpful for our social workers and day care centre workers to return to their regular jobs," said Elsa Onida, Chair of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) sub-cluster for Region VIII, DSWD.
UNICEF is supporting the reopening by providing ECCD kits, tarpaulins and furniture to over 800 most heavily affected day care centres. The kits include educational toys to help cognitive development, storybooks, musical instruments and the most essential learning materials to replace those that were destroyed by the typhoon.
"Following the early-January back-to-learning and reopening of schools, the reopening of day care centres marks yet another significant step toward disaster recovery and much needed normalcy for younger children," said Angela Kearney, Representative a.i., UNICEF Philippines. "With mounting evidence on how important early years in a child's life are, UNICEF is keen to see the day care centres operational alongside the schools in all affected areas. We hope that the launch will serve as a platform to consider further actions and investment in young children."
UNICEF has supported the DSWD campaign to inform parents of the reopening via radio broadcasts, SMS, and community mobilization efforts, calling on them to bring their children back to the centres. Day care workers will receive training on psychosocial support on education in emergencies.
Some of the less-affected kindergartens and day care centres have welcomed the children back over the last weeks. Today's official launch scales up return for a large number of young children. The campaign will continue to boost enrolment in day care centers and advocate for further investment and action for young children.