By: Paula Cabrera
Last 23 May 2017, an armed terrorist group, the Maute group, attacked Marawi City, Lanao Del Norte. Due to the chaos, violence, resistance, and rebellion, President Duterte then declared martial law in Mindanao.
Since then, the terrorists have continued to exert violent efforts to take over the city, resulting in many families being displaced, as houses, buildings, and other facilities have been destroyed. There are also many who are trapped in the conflict areas and even held hostage by these terrorists.
In order to help relocate and save the residents of Marawi, there are those who risk their lives to help in whatever way they can. These are our brave soldiers, medics, and long list of volunteers. As moms, we too feel plain when we see pictures of the situation of families in Marawi, especially pictures of children. We spend all our energy protecting our children, and it is difficult for us to understand that there are heartless people who have no qualms with harming them.
As moms, we want to explain to our children what is happening in Marawi, and, as a part setting an example to our children for being kind, caring, and compassionate individuals, we also want our families to help in whatever way we can.
It is a big decision to actually pack our bags, travel to Lanao, and volunteer in the area. It is heroic. But that decision does not belong to all of us. We have to admit that not all of us can or should volunteer. The point remains that there are other ways to help and we shouldn’t ignore these other ways or shrug them off as small efforts.
Include Marawi in our prayers.
Regardless of our religious beliefs, we can pray for the situation in Marawi. We can pray for peace to prevail, for the violence to end, for the healing of the city, for its rebuilding, for the strengthening of those struggling and in pain, for those who have lost loved ones, for the displaced families to find where they belong, and for enlightenment of the terrorists. We should never underestimate the power of prayer, and the residents of Marawi need us to pray for them.
Pack relief goods, medical kits, toys, books, and coloring materials.
There are also simple yet concrete ways by which we can help the families in Marawi. We can make it a family effort to pack relief goods and medical kits to be sent to them. According to the Philippine Red Cross, it would be helpful to send rice, noodles, assorted canned goods, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, blankets, and plastic mats. We are reminded that most of the residents in Marawi are Muslim, and so, we ought to respect their religious preferences by sending halal food and long dresses with sleeves for women.
Aside from the usual relief goods, let’s not forget that there are children who need consolation too, so it would be helpful also to send toys, books, and coloring materials.
Coordinate with villages, offices, and schools.
To make it an even bigger impact, we can coordinate with our villages or subdivisions, our offices, and schools to help in packing relief goods and transporting them to NGOs, government departments or agencies, and other organizations in charge of distributing the donations to the families in Marawi. We can contact the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Office of the Vice President, and Philippine National Red Cross to name a few.
Give cash donations.
We can also opt to give cash donations. This can still be a family effort. We can encourage our kids to give a portion of their baon or savings and we can bring them with us when we go to the bank to deposit the money. CNN Philippines has provided a list of bank accounts to which we can make our cash donations to help wounded soldiers, families of soldiers who died, and all other victims of the attacks in Marawi (http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/06/20/pray-for-marawi-donate.html).
Remember that we are soldiers in our own way.
Regardless of how we choose to help, let’s remember that our efforts go a long way for all the victims of the attacks in Marawi. Let’s not take for granted the fact that we are not in the areas of conflict. Let’s always be grateful that we have the comfort of our homes and that we can sleep peacefully at night. Let’s use these daily blessings we have as fuel to help our brothers and sisters in Marawi.
We may not be the soldiers in combat, but in our own ways, we can still help and be a part of our country’s efforts to give them back their lives. The worst that we can do is to believe that we are too far away to make a difference.
Paula Cabrera is a working mom and a devoted wife. She and her husband are both lawyers who are continuously learning to embrace the joys and pains of both work and parenting. Reading and writing have always been some of her hobbies, and so, despite being busy, she finds time to do both even for just a few minutes everyday. She hopes to be able to be able to reach out to other parents through her short pieces and remind them that they are not alone in the crazy yet fulfilling world of parenting.
Photo Credit: www.aljazeera.com