PUPPETS TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Tuesday, December 1 2015: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – A natural disaster gives no warning, it just leaves its calling card. This is why it is crucial that all necessary precautions are taken to be prepared. The Digicel Foundation is helping persons with special needs to be educated and prepared to deal with natural disasters. The project entitled ‘Preparing You’ is being implemented by the Digicel Foundation in association with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM).
On Friday, November 27 the team journeyed to the Pointe-a-Pierre Special School to facilitate a Student Training Session. These sessions are being held in five schools in South Trinidad throughout the academic year 2015/2016. Accompanying the Digicel Foundation team were fire officers who delivered a talk on fire safety and how to respond in the event of a fire. Fire Officer Anton Blackman and his team also inspected the school and taught the young, attentive audience how to best respond in various situations by memorising important phrases such as “fall and crawl” and “don’t hide, go outside”.
The children were also treated to an informative and exciting puppet show by the Emmanuel Puppet Team. Aided by puppets Randy and Andy, the children sang songs and told stories illustrating what they learnt from the training session. It was clear through the excitement that a strong grasp was made by the children as to what to do in case of fire, flood, earthquakes and hurricanes. At the end of the puppet show, the children were able to identify which items to include in their disaster preparedness kits.
As a proud ambassador of the special needs cause, Digicel Foundation’s CEO Penny Gomez was present on the day and greeted the children by commending them for being such a curious and attentive audience. She also encouraged them to go home and share with their parents and siblings what they had learned at the training session.
Among other committed partners contributing and providing support during the training session were Rissa Edoo, Programme Assistant, GEF Small Grants Programme, United Nations Development Programme as well as ODPM’s Training and Education Specialist Arlini Timal and her team.
In January, the ODPM team will create a database for all the schools involved in the project -Lady Hochoy Schools in Penal and Gasparillo; Servol Happy Venture in San Fernando; Pointe- a Pierre Special School and Rio Claro Learning and Development Centre- and several drills will also be conducted to improve their disaster response.
The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) which is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).