As part of its emergency response to the Marawi crisis that erupted on 23 May 2017, the Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services (COPERS) mounted the “Hearts for Marawi” fundraiser in July 2017. Donors were given cardboard hearts where they could write their message of support to the beneficiaries among the displaced children who were staying in home-based and non-formal evacuation centers. Spearheaded by AB Psychology senior Rey Jan Pusta, the project was instrumental in putting together over 2,000 school kits that were used by COPERS and its local partners in conducting therapeutic art sessions in Iligan City and affected municipalities in Lanao del Sur.

Spearheaded by AB Psychology senior Rey Jan Pusta, the project was instrumental in putting together over 2,000 school kits that were used by COPERS and its local partners in conducting therapeutic art sessions in Iligan City and affected municipalities in Lanao del Sur.

In August, about 20,000 displaced schoolchildren from Marawi were accepted to attend school in places where they are temporarily staying. The integration has not been easy for many of them. Many public schools in particular already lacked facilities to cater to their homegrown student body, and the additional registrants contributed to heavy workload, crowded conditions, and a general scarcity of educational resources. In some schools, COPERS sensed intercultural tensions simmering below the surface, lending a not-so-welcoming environment for the displaced children.

COPERS engaged schools that accepted the IDPs and redirected its training of local resources to focus psychosocial processing at encouraging harmony in diversity. COPERS generated psychosocial processing resources that are age-appropriate, culturally sensitive, and peace-centered.

Among these, COPERS recently released a coloring book developed in collaboration with Maranao youth volunteers and the Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS). The resource was designed to instill the values of multiculturalism, pakikipagkapwa, connectedness, and optimism. It is our hope that every school-aged child displaced from Marawi could be reached for psychosocial processing initiated by his engagement of the coloring book’s storyline.

COPERS is inviting the University community to take part in this endeavor to realize the University’s Mission to engage in vibrant community service by sponsoring the printing of this resource intended to facilitate the healthy adjustment of displaced children in their host schools. Dubbed Peace in Our Hearts, the coloring book costs P100 each. COPERS accepts Hearts for Marawi Part II donations through accomplished Office Budget Transfer Form made out to COPERS DCB. Those who prefer to shell out cash will be issued official receipts at D204/206.

For further details, please call (082) 221-24-11 loc 8273 or 8351.