EI and the Federation of Free Workers-Trade Federation VIII (FFW), one of its national affiliates in the Philippines, conducted a training session on psychological first aid on 4 April, at the Central Philippines University, as part of the EI post-Hayan (Yolanda) rehabilitation programme.
Thirty seven participants from four EI affiliates - the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the Samahang Manggagawang Philipino-National Alliance of Teachers and Office Workers (SMP-NATOW), the Teachers’ Organisation of the Philippine Public Sector (TOPPS) and the FFW – took part in the training. All came from areas affected by the typhoon in western visayas (districts).
Next step counselling
The FFW opted to conduct psychological first aid training rather than psychological trauma counselling, because the latter had to be conducted at an early stage after the tragic incident and takes a longer period to process in the minds and behaviours of the victims. Psychological trauma counselling helps to raise people’s awareness, so they are prepared if incidents or unfortunate calamities strike again in their regions.
The Trade Federation VIII’s President, Jomel General, welcomed participants. Then Amalia Campos, FFW National Vice-President for the affected visayas, presented background information on the EI and FFW joint action in the Philippines.
Empowering participants through experience sharing
During four different workgroups, participants were asked to outline the burdens they have been carrying since Yolanda struck, how they manage stress, and how they care for others in the community.
They shared their reactions, explained how they were coping with and managing stress; articulated concerns and strategies to deal with family and peers; identified possible actions to address typhoon Yolanda survivors’ common concerns; acknowledged each other’s strength as survivors; and were able to better understand what psychological first aid is and how to apply it when needed.
Speakers highlighted the hope they have in a prompt, satisfactory, and sustainable recovery in the affected national areas.
EI: Important initiative for teachers' health
“This post-Yolanda psychological first aid initiative is very important,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “We commend our colleagues for getting involved in it. This is going to allow them to recover, feel better, and therefore provide better quality education to their students.”