ICF Philippines alumni organized an Online Psychosocial Support Activity

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The ICF alumni in the Philippines, through the initiative of Hamsiya Olimpain, a School of Peace 2019 alumna, organized an Online Psychosocial Support Activity for the ICF Alumni on August 26, 29, and September 5, 2020. ICF, as a project of Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCA, supported this initiative through its small grant program. Thirteen alumni participated in the first session. c Five of them were females and eight are males. During the second session, four females and seven males, or, a total of eleven alumni joined during the second session. These alumni come from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These alumni were participants of different ICF programs such as the Thematic Workshops, Peace Institutes, and the School of Peace. They come from Christian and Muslim faith traditions. This activity aims to provide a venue for alumni to share their experiences during the lockdown and community quarantine due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The activity also provides a platform for alumni to connect with each other and reflect on the effects of the pandemic on their lives.

↑  ICF Alumni on Psychosocial support 2nd session

The session started with the preliminaries, such as the opening prayer, orientation on the objectives, and introduction of the participants. Ms. Debbie Statentes-Dasang, Director of Guidance and Counselling Services of Southern Christian College served as the resource person. During the sessions, the participant shared their current involvements, their jobs, and the specific ICF activity they have attended. Then, Ms. Dasang led the participants into the exercise of listening. The participants listened to the sharing of experiences of each one during the imposed lockdown and the community quarantine due to the COVId-19 pandemic. The participants shared their worries, fear, and anxieties during the pandemic. They realized that it is important to appreciate life. They expressed concern over the proliferation of fake news. As ICF alumni, they expressed that it is crucial to share the correct information, especially on social media platforms. The ICF alumni were happy that through the activity, they were able to reconnect with each other and meet new friends who are within the ICF circle. They expressed that somehow, the activity has lessened their anxieties and worries, if not relieved completely because they were able to share and unload their burdens with their fellow alumni.

After the sharing, Ms. Dasang gave a brief input on Stress Management. During the discussion, one participant shared that he experienced depression. The participants recognized that it is crucial to recognize our feelings, seek support from family, friends, and if needed, seek support from a counselor who can provide psychological support. To continue advocating for peace especially in these times, it is crucial to recognize these issues confronting the youth.

~Muriel Orevilla-Montenegro, PhD., ICF Coordinator