17 November 2013

EcoWaste Coalition Collects Safe Toys for Child Victims of Monster Typhoon Yolanda

Photo by Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA
An environmental organization has launched a toy drive to assist child survivors of super typhoon Yolanda in easing the anxiety and trauma they have gone through.

Through a press release, the EcoWaste Coalition invited the private and public sectors to share new or used toys, as well as books for kids, to replace what typhoon Yolanda has mercilessly taken away from the children.

The group made the appeal ahead of the Universal Children’s Day on November 20, which commemorates the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, which affirms that “state parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”

“While we know that the support and encouragement from adults is key to enabling affected kids cope with the mounting death and despair around them, we believe that books to read and toys to play with can help them face the tragedy with more hopefulness,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“In the absence of child counselors and therapists in many of the typhoon-wrecked communities, and with the support systems in churches, schools and villages still in disarray, it’s important for these kids to have something to cheer them up amid the destruction,” she said.

“We already have few boxes of clean toys from our previous toy sampling activities, and we hope to gather more to make more kids feel that they are cared about,” she also said.

Lucero reminded donors not to give broken toys as such toys might only hurt the kids or add to negative emotions instead of instilling positive attitudes among them.

She also requested donors to refrain from giving toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, particularly things that kids can put into their mouths, to avoid potential ingestion of phthalates and other harmful chemical additives.

The EcoWaste Coalition will screen the toy donations for chemical, choking, laceration and strangulation hazards before sending them to child survivors through church, community or professional associations.

The group, in particular, will use a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer to determine if the toys given are safe from toxic metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury.

The EcoWaste Coalition will receive toy and book donations until November 30, 2013, which can be sent to their office at Unit 329, Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St., Barangay Central, Quezon City.

Meanwhile, another Quezon City-based environmental group promoting zero waste is accepting cash donations until December 31, 2013 for the purchase of carpentry kits to help typhoon survivors rebuild their homes.

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) has initiated the drive to help families reconstruct their houses by providing them with carpentry kits consisting of a standard hammer, a kilo of nails, plier, handsaw and 100 feet of nylon rope.

“In the recovery phase, the common need of survivor families is to rebuild their homes, most of which are made of wooden exterior walls, bamboo or wooden posts and flooring, and corrugated iron sheet or else grass roofs,” the group said. 

“Many families however that have moved more quickly to recovery lack the basic carpentry tools for these types of materials,” it observed.

GAIA therefore decided to focus on soliciting and accepting donations for these basic tools, and along with it, to send out a suggestion that usable materials from destroyed houses and buildings can be reused to rebuild homes.

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