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Wishes for the children

ROBERT COLLINS-UNSPLASH

“Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children.” — Albert Camus, French philosopher

On the first week of the year, we feel that there is hope for the world. Above all, we pray for the children.

The future belongs to them. They will be the leaders and guardians of the people and the environment.

There have been major upheavals around the world. The children have been the innocent victims and martyrs of war, conflict, crime, poverty, abuse, exploitation, hunger, and the pandemic.

Here is our wish list for the children.

1.) May they be safe at home with responsible parents and siblings who love, nurture, and protect them. They need parents who will lead by example and who will teach them essential spiritual and family values and good manners. Many families have absentee parents who work abroad. Thus, the vulnerable children should be insulated from domestic abuse, violence, and injury.

2.) May they have multi-level protection from abuse — physical, emotional and mental. The children in barangays should have access to the Philippine General Hospital-Child Protection Unit (PGH-CPU) and the nationwide Women and Children Protection Units (WCPU) facilities where they can ask for and get help for mental health, legal, psychological, physical, and medical needs.

3.) May they have good health. That all children, especially those who live in remote rural areas, will have potable water, nutritious food and vitamins, medical and dental care. That they have access to safe vaccines, and to doctors and nurses.

4.) That they may live in a clean, non-toxic environment — with fresh air without the choking fumes from vehicles and factories.

5.) That they may live with rivers and seas that have clear pure water which is free from plastic, styrofoam, metal, and other non-biodegradable and septic waste.

6.) That they may have quality education. The public school system should be upgraded and have good, caring, dedicated teachers with decent classrooms for both online and face-to-face learning. That there be mobile libraries and reading programs. That kids have the opportunity to study, excel, and learn independence. That supplementary learning modules continue to be provided by the Knowledge channel on TV from early childhood until the teenage years.

7.) That there be an accelerated program on Math, Science, English, and Internet Technology to equip students with international skills to complete and succeed in the global markets.

8.) That there be courses on environment, courtesy and manners, ethics, and heritage and culture appreciation.

9.) That there be a competitive sports program with enough funds for national, regional, and international competitions. That all kids learn the value of teamwork, friendly competition, and the art of winning and losing gracefully. That they may emulate our Olympic gold medalist and focus and work hard. That there would be enthusiastic and private sector government support.

10.) That they may live in a gender discrimination-free society that would encourage children to aspire to become leaders in their chosen professions. That they would have the resources and opportunities to fulfill their goals.

11.) That there be a national arts and culture program with regular and nationwide outreach projects to elevate the consciousness of children and their parents. This will uplift the spirit and minds of the youth and contribute to the development of our people.

12.) That they live in a country with visionary national leaders, hardworking honest officials in all branches of the government who are imbued with wisdom, integrity, compassion, and heart. They would be worthy role models for children to admire and emulate.

13.) That the children live in a safe, crime-free, drug-free, abuse-free environment. That all children would be protected from the menace of incest, abuse in all forms, and the scourge of drugs and cybercrime.

14.) That they live in a stable economy. That there be jobs, livelihood projects, micro-finance, and SMEs in all communities so that children can go to school. That there be infrastructure in the rural areas and upgraded IT facilities to encourage children to go to school and study online.

15.) That there be freedom of expression and communication. Children have the right to be heard, to have privacy, and to be themselves. They need respect to develop self-esteem and confidence. Parents should let their children feel free with limitations. They should not be repressed, confined, and over-protected. The pandemic statistics showed a high increase in depression and suicide.

16.) That they have love, laughter and discipline.

May the New Year bring the blessing of peace and harmony in Ukraine and the other countries at war. May our children and grandchildren experience the joy of living, playing, and growing up in a healthy environment.

Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.

mavrufino@gmail.com

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