In December, FundLife was able to continue with the educational community led sessions through football led by the Football for Life Academy and Girls Got This coaches for children from 10 to 18 years old. Every session the coaches focus on social issues that affect children in their day to day life. All sessions follow the strict health and safety protocols under the guidance of the LGU's, making sure all players are checked on symptoms before attending the session and maintain social distancing during the trainings.
This month the focus was on Gender Equality, Safe Spaces and Teamwork. Through fun games and activities the coaches teach the players about issues and try to keep it fun but engaging by letting the children interact with each other and talk about experiences they have faced themselves.
We want to teach our players the importance of being knowledgeable about concepts that are important to them as future adults and leaders in their community. We encourage them too, to give their opinions and have confidence in their own voices. It is therefore wonderful to see when our players give their thoughts during the discussions after each game/drill.
One of the players even told the coaches that it is amazing how they are having fun and at the same time, learn about the world they live in through the games we teach them. He also said that through attending the sessions, he has become more productive in his school work. As one of his motivations is to finish his tasks so his parents allow him to attend the sessions as long as his modules are done before Saturday.
During the month of October on Leyte Island, Fundlife organised a number of food and hygene distributions for a total of 274 families, with support from Girl Rising and Soroptimist International of Alabang. All families have children who are active players in Fundlife’s Football For Life programme.
FundLife distributed food packs and hygiene kits to the most vulnerable families in the places: Anibong, Libertad - Palo, San Isidro, Sagkahan National High School, San Jose Central School, San Jose National High School, Kapuso Village Integrated School, Tanauan High School, Palo National High School, Barangay Kawayan and Sagkahan National High School. Barangay Health Workers (BHW) and Barangay Peace Officers (Brgy. Tanods) who were constantly in the frontlines the past months also received food packs and hygiene kits.
During the distributions, our coaches facilitated short orientations for parents on COVID-19 prevention measures. Here, they demonstrated to parents how to wear a mask and why social distancing is so important in a fun way which they can use to teach and remind their children. Coach John Rex, asked parents to join him in demonstrating proper hand washing while dancing to the tune of "There's a Kind of Hush". Coaches also discussed the role of the parents in supporting the struggles of their children, especially during the pandemic.
Recipients, FundLife staff, and community leaders made sure to maintain social distancing; anybody who wants to enter the distribution area is also required to wear a face mask and face shield. They sanitise their hands in the entrance where their temperature was also checked. They also had to use a footbath upon entering the area. Although the activity catered a large number, the beneficiaries appeared in staggered shifts (10 people per batch). Each shift was scheduled at a different time (30 minutes maximum stay in the distribution site).
In Barangay Kawayan, in collaboration with Soroptimist International of Alabang, FundLife provided 116 Women Power Packs to the women most in need. A mixture of hygiene packs with powdered milk and Activity packs were distributed to mothers and expectant mothers. The women were extremely grateful for the power packs, 17 years old pregnant Zairene said: "I'm very thankful to GirlsGotThis for the hygiene kits they gave us. It doesn't matter how small or how big the help is, so long as it comes from the heart. For the Women Win activity book, it will serve as my reflection journal. Through it, I know that I will be able to know myself better, I will know my purpose in life. That even if I got pregnant at a young age and while still studying, I will be reminded that my life does not end here and that I still have a future. These power packs help empower women, and I'm very grateful for this."
Fundlife is delighted to have been able to help many families during this difficult time and we will be providing more food packs and hygiene kits in November.
Sir Rufino, a Master teacher, at Tanauan high school explains what the current teaching set-up is like and how the ‘'new normal’’ of learning is for his students.
'In the past weeks, I have been conducting home visits to see what is really happening with our students; based on what I saw and heard, most of the students are slowly accepting and adjusting to the new modality of learning, but it isn’t easy ’' he says. ''With the current situation, students are not really learning. Unlike the learning set-up before COVID-19, where the teacher is there to directly aid learning of each of the students, they just read their modules and answer the questions'', Sir Rufino explains.
He decided as a result of his initial visits and interviews with his students that he will set more time aside for home visitation to assist and monitor his learners and also check on the parents. In the area where Sir Rufino teaches, households exist out of large families. ‘'I have one student who has 4 siblings, whose mother needs to support and guide them all when studying. Her children are now in Grades 1, 3, 7 and 9. Since the new learning set-up she spends most of her time making sure that her children are able to answer their modules and sometimes end up setting aside the household chores.’'
Homeschooling has a big effect on parents' lives and is difficult for them. One of the concerns most families in his area have is that some parents can’t read as they haven’t been able to attend school themselves. ‘'Parents want to help their children finish their studies but with the current situation, they can’t help but worry’’, he explains.
Sir Rufino proposed a Community Learning Hub to the Mayor, having these hubs will give more learning time and teachers are able to support students with struggles they face, at the same time, some burden will be lessened on their parents. The biggest problems for teachers at the moment is lack of aid. Not only is there not enough funding to print all the modulars, but all workload is put on teachers as well. Next to printing the materials, reviewing the modulars and conducting home visits, teachers also have to worry about the distribution of the modulars and reviewing everything that is given to them. ‘’If the Community Learning Hubs would be approved the workload of teachers will be lessened and we can have more time to revisit the contents of the modules ‘’, he says.
The new way of teaching is taking a toll on teachers' lives. A lot of teachers are stuck in a position where they want to help their students to provide quality education, but it is affecting their own lives. ''I know teachers who even use money from their own pocket just to buy bond paper and ink for the printer just so they are able to produce these modules. Even their budget for food gets affected because they prioritised these modules for their students. And that is not all, teachers are exhausted mentally as physically - but they all continue for the sake of the students.”
He really hopes that there soon will be a proper solution for the current learning system. ‘'It is important that teachers, parents, students and the LGU will help each other in improving the way things are based on the gathered feedback because these are really happening and we can’t continue doing those that don’t work well ‘’, he expresses.
'Teachers are just like medical professionals, our front liners. Our patients are our students and each student we need to provide with an appropriate treatment.’’ - Sir Rufino.
3 out of 4 young people have very difficult time dealing with COVID-19 lockdowns; survey finds increased emotional stress, boredom and early signs of depression in children and adolescents.
Primary research carried out by FundLife, a local youth-led NGO based in Leyte found that in addition to disruption to children’s education, COVID-19 is having a significant affect on young people’s mental well-being and is contributing to increased anxiety and worry.
With all schools closed across the Philippines since March 11th, the educational impact on children has been severe. In a survey carried out in Leyte between July-August, FundLife found that the impact on mental well-being has also been substantial.
In the absence of regular schooling and physical learning in a safe and enabling environment, children and youth have lost their sense of structure and social stimulation. In the first three months of lockdowns, they have seen all interaction with friends removed and often miss the social support they had to cope with everyday issues that is vital for mental well-being.
In a small sample survey of 42 children and young people (aged 10-24), findings showed that 7 out of 10 (71%) young people are directly worried about the virus and it’s impact on them and their families and over 30% of all young people reported feeling helpless during the lockdowns. More worryingly, 3 out of 4 young people interviewed admitted that they are having a very hard time getting through the imposed lockdowns, which has seem them unable to leave their houses as strict 24-hour curfew is enforced to mitigate the spread of of COVID-19.
Data also showed that 6 out of 10 children and young people have reported becoming less resilient during the COVID-19 lockdowns, with almost 50% reporting that they typically just sleep if they have nothing to do. Over 60% also said that since COVID-19, they are watching more TV as they are not in school, while 8 in 10 said they are living with increased concern about a family member getting very sick because of COVID-19.
In an effort to support young people during the lockdowns, FundLife has already produced over 50 ‘Learn-from-Home’ and ‘Healthy-at-Home’ videos to help young people during this protracted pandemic as well as providing education for children to stay safe. 84% of young people said the videos motivate them to be healthier, while 1 in 2 said that they videos changes their mood and they feel happy to see their coaches interacting with them. 5% said that the videos make them sadder, because it reminds them of physical exercises and regular sessions before COVID-19 lockdowns, but they cannot leave the house.
FundLife is continuing to support young people and is currently delivering ‘Resiliency-at-Home’ packs to support young people and to help them cope with the social and emotional impact of COVID-19. With the suspension of school reaching over 200 days, the continued impact on young people will only worsen, unless something is done to help them.
To learn more about FundLife’s emergency response to COVID-19 and regular programming, visit www.fundlife.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FundLife distributed a total of 94 food packs and hygiene kits to the most vulnerable families and front liners of Brgy. San Isidro, Tacloban - one of the organization's long-standing community partners in implementing the Football for Life Academy (FFLA) Program .
Among the families who received the packs and kits were families of children participating in the FFLA program greatly affected by the impact of rising cases of COVID-19. Barangay Health Workers (BHW) and Barangay Peace Officers (Brgy. Tanods) who were constantly in the frontlines the past months also received food packs and hygiene kits.
During the distribution, coach John Rex facilitated a short corona virus prevention orientation for parents. He asked the parents to demonstrate how to properly wash their hands in a fun way which they can use to teach and remind their children. Coach John Rex briefly discussed the role of the parents in supporting the struggles of their children, especially during the pandemic.
The distribution was a success. The community leaders and beneficiaries followed the process with strict compliance with the local health protocol. Beneficiaries, FundLife staff, and community leaders ensure to maintain social distancing. Anybody who wants to enter the distribution area was also required to wear a face mask and face shield. They sanitize their hands in the entrance where their temperature was also checked. They also had to use a footbath upon entering the area.
Although the activity catered a large number, the beneficiaries appeared in batches (10 people per batch). Each batch was also scheduled at a different time (30 minutes maximum stay in distribution site). The initiative was supported by FundLife's development partner, Girl Rising, who in addition to supporting FundLife's COVID-19 relief programming, are working on regular programming with FundLife to protect, educate and empower girls.
Hands up to the strong tandem of the community leaders and FundLife!
Words by FundLife's, Senior Coach, Patty;
As part of FundLife’s development program, for the Football for Life Academy and Girls Got This coaches, an online coaching session was held on September 30, 2020. The coaching session was facilitated by Football for Humanity coach, Johnny Collins.
FundLife's senior coaches participated in a three-hour session where they were able to develop their creativity, critical-thinking, and communication skills, as well as being challenged to broaden their “coaching eye”.
Being a football coach means to always be a student of the game, develop your coaching philosophy, adapt your style to the times, and find ways to understand your players or team to help them develop and learn more. All the participants of the coaching session were expected to be actively engaged in the session which featured not just technical knowledge but also some demonstration of practical skills.
The highlight of the session was doing a match analysis of a football game where coaches were challenged to take the role of the coach of one of the playing teams. This to understand why the players made certain mishaps and be at an advantage during the game.
The main takeaway of the session was that a coach always should be willing to learn from others and not be hesitant to ask for tips and advice, especially from those who have been in the profession for a while.
FundLife believes in the power of mentorship and life-long learning, to not only learn from each other on the field but also in daily life. Most importantly, make them better professionals and in the long run, improve the programs of the organisation.