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Materials developed to help children heal after Cyclone Winston

© UNICEF Pacific/2016/Hing
Rusiate Duke Lawalevu illustrating one of the books produced during the workshop

SUVA, 11 April 2016 – Following the destructive Cyclone Winston that hit Fiji, a group of people from Government, non-governmental organisations and the creative and design industry produced a set of materials to help children heal and to support their resiliency and how they adjust to daily life. The workshop participants and the materials produced were the most diverse and inclusive of any previous workshop.

 Workshop facilitator and renowned UNICEF consultant on children’s media, Ms Barbara Kolucki said “Children’s difficult emotions are normal and they should be acknowledged and accepted. These emotions come after a disaster but they are part of everyday life as well. Our hope is that these materials will help them feel that they are not alone, learn to deal with difficult emotions in healthy ways, and to look for the many hWhile closing the workshop, Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and National Disaster Management, Colonel Inia Seruiratu said “It’s a privilege to be here amongst you all. For us in the Pacific we are amongst the most vulnerable in the world and for that we need to be always prepared.”

Hon. Minister Seruiratu said “My key message is bridges, houses and communication lines are essential, but people are living things. They have emotions, needs and feelings. You have to understand people and have to understand those you are going to serve, especially children. While we are focusing on physical reconstruction what is more important is how we deal with people. For development to be sustainable it takes people. For long term solutions, cultivate the people and build a better Fiji. It takes people for development to be sustainable. It’s the children you are dealing with and they are our future.”

UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Karen Allen said “That is why your presence at these workshops is critical. What is important is application after these workshops. People have different coping abilities when it comes to conflicts and disasters.”

Workshop participant, Peter Sipeli said “Books are like magical portals that children can use to heal after a cyclone. To be a special education teacher or early childhood teacher means you have to reach into the passion of your hearts everyday as well as roll out curriculum based work.”

Another participant from the deaf community, Sakiusa Volavola said “This workshop taught me a lot and I’ve really enjoyed being able to contribute and being able to draw as part of my contribution. I hope in future workshops I will be included. The process was quite hard but I really enjoyed it.”

Participant Dave Lavaki, thanked UNICEF and said “For me as a photographer this has been very new. I’ve never worked with children, children and adults with disabilities and the disadvantaged communities. For us to have a window to peep into the world of special and inclusive education and early childcare is something new, and for those of us leaving today we will be advocates for early childhood education and care. This week we worked with different people with different skills and it has been amazing.”

Participants came together from the Ministries of Education, Health, Social Welfare and the Department of Information, NGOs including Save the Children Fiji, Fiji Association of the Deaf and The Early Learning Centre Fiji, as well as some of the most creative talent in the country.

For the first time in Fiji after a major disaster, a set of materials for children was produced from a workshop. The workshop was held from 4-9 April 2016 in Suva and funded by UNICEF, with implementation and distribution of the materials funded by the Government of Australia. Four different ministries will be engaged in using these materials with their target groups and monitoring their usage.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and our work in the Pacific visit: http://www.unicefpacific.org

For more information or photos kindly contact, Communications Specialist – External Relations, Donna Hoerder, dhoerder@unicef.org or telephone +679 9265 51

 

 
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