In celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace 2012, Western Mindanao State University-Center for Peace and Development launched its activity dubbed as Happy Feet for Peace, in which street children each received a pair of slippers. The donation of slippers was held on December 3 at the university grounds.
Some 50 street children were the recipients of the rubber slippers, educational materials and toys. The main purpose of the Happy Feet Project is to reduce the sufferings of barefooted children, especially the less privileged ones without a decent pair of footwear. The beneficiaries of the Handog Tsinelas were among the street children often seen at the city’s Plaza Pershing.
The university’s Center for Peace and Development (CPD) under the office of the Vice President for Research, Development and Extension, WMSU Youth Peace Mediators Club (WYMPC) and Alay Kalinga for Street Children were the minds behind the project. The project was a result of the observation of the WYMPC, assessing the poor condition of the target clients especially along the thoroughfares of the city. The idea of giving out slippers to the less fortunate children was concretize after a series of meetings and the club under the CPD considered the project as one of the in-house activities.
The essence of the Happy Feet for Peace project is of two-fold. The CPD shared that the giving away of slippers is symbolical for it represents the steps taken not only by the government but by the people of the community to attain lasting peace. Moreover, the gesture is a concrete expression of love and faith in which the recipients of the project were made to feel that they are important part of the community and that their presence is not only acknowledged but also given due importance.
Altruism was realized as the project was supported thru the donations from the CPD itself, from the university’s Integrated Laboratory School-High School Department, College of Communications and Humanities, College of Social Sciences, College of Physical Education, Recreation and Sports, College of Home Economics and College of Criminal Justice Education.
Aside from the giving of slippers to the children, several activities were prepared such as the War Toys for Peaceful Joys; it is a game in which the children were made to distinguish the harmless toys from the violent ones. Other Peace Games were also participated by the children, in which the games intend to teach them a sense of teamwork, camaraderie and friendship. Educational materials were also given to the children to provide a motivation to the recipients to study hard to attain their dreams.
CPD plans to replicate this laudable project in the future because it has shown favorable results and its primary objectives have been served. The center, headed by its Director, Dr. Marcelina G. Carpizo and together with her staff earnestly hopes that more children will be reached and may they achieve their dreams. The center believes that peace advocacy is not just confined within the center but the support of the administration and the community as well is very much needed. (Ekeena O. Lim, WMSU-Public Affairs Office. Information from the WMSU-Center for Peace and Development)