Volunteering as a Buddy for DIWA: A Children's Fair 2018

What could have been just a boring and nonchalant weekend became a productive and meaningful one as I decided to partake in a volunteer work to benefit children with special needs. 💓💓💓
Photo from DIWA 2018 Facebook page

Over the weekend, I participated as a buddy-sister for DIWA: A Children’s Fair 2018, an initiative of the University of the Philippines’ PsychSoc students to provide fun and engaging activities to special education (SPED) students of Batino Elementary School.

I am not unfamiliar with special education students or children with special needs. Back in grade school, our class (Accelerated Class) shared the same building with special needs children and deaf and mute students my age. I saw them play and behave; but, 16 years later, only now through DIWA: A Children’s Fair 2018 would I have the chance to engage and bond with this kind of children.

Volunteers either facilitated activity booths for the children or paired with the kids to do the activities during the half-a-day event. Several activity booths for play and enjoyment were set up for the students, while song, dance and magic trick performances were lined up to keep the children entertained.

I was assigned as a buddy/partner to a student named Kriszha, who is suffering from speech delay. While this was the case, it did not hinder the both of us to communicate and enjoy the day together. We tried all the booths and activities, and Kriszha particularly loved the drawing and coloring activities. Despite being a quiet and shy girl, she even participated in the group dance, too! 

Prior to this event, we were invited to a sensitivity training to educate us on proper handling of children with special needs. The short discussion helped me understand that as people, we need to do more for these children as they need it the most -- more understanding, more patience, and more love -- for us to be able to better engage and communicate with them and understand what they want or need. 

I consider participating in this event my first-ever involvement in volunteer work (thanks to a friend who sent me the call-for-volunteers article about the event) and doing so awakened the side of me that aims to do more of these in the future.


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