*Editor’s Note: We were lucky enough to get in touch with the folks organizing the HEART Campaign. Here’s a quick recap to their story.
“Nagiging strong po akong pagkakababae kasi po para sa mga anak ko, kasi kinakailangan po nila ako para maalagaan ko sila nang mabuti. Kailangang maging malakas ako para sa kanila kasi pag maging mahina ako paano ko sila mabuhay at paano ko sila mapa-aral? Sila lang ang nagbibigay buhay sa akin.”
– From a woman of Haven
It was nerve-wracking when I stood in front of the Haven women to introduce the campaign they inspired us to do. I wanted them to understand that their unfaltering strength was the reason why we decided to launch HEART (Help End Abusive Relationships Today).
The idea of HEART started from Tin Baltazar and Zaffron Jade Hill, two volunteers of VSO International Citizen Service from the January to March cycle. As the succeeding volunteers in DSWD Regional Haven, Nikita and I expanded the ideas of the campaign to gain potential for a wide movement.
HEART aims to promote healthy relationships among all genders, and identify the five main types of abuse in relationships – which are physical, emotional, sexual, financial and neglect/isolation. We want to educate people about healthy relationships by breaking the cycle of abuse and spreading awareness through Hear the HEART.
Since the campaign kicked-off in early June, we held two talks in the schools of First High School for the Hearing Impaired and Zapatera National High School. We first reached out to the young deaf community to make them realize that they, as people, are entitled to healthy relationships and their disability should not be used against them.
We were only assigned three months in Cebu City and wanted assurances that the campaign would be carried on and touch base with more communities. This led to our partnership with Lihok Pilipina Foundation, a local NGO and passionate advocate of anti-domestic violence and abuse. We also communicated with students of the University of the Philippines-Cebu for a possible collaboration with their student organizations. We want HEART to spread out and reach as many communities as possible. We want people to know that they have voices and that they should not give in to abusive relationships because through HEART, there are ways to untangle.
Last July 4 to 5, 2015 in the Activity Center of Ayala Center Cebu, HEART was officially launched during Breaking Barriers and Opening Doors: Celebrate, Educate and Believe in Unity. With the help of our partners and sponsors, we were able to engage the audience through fun activities like Print-On-The-Spot Campaign Shirts, Live Art Painting by Cebu’s famous graffiti artists, and a Fingerboard Competition. On top of that, Haven women’s Friendship Bracelets and Dream Catchers attracted a huge crowd. All proceeds from the launch went towards basic necessities and supplies for the women and children’s needs.
What’s next for HEART?
We are positive that the campaign will continue to reach different communities in Cebu. As we go back to our homes in Manila and London, we will maintain the same rigor to make HEART a movement of change. Nikita and I, alongside another volunteer Jess, will keep the campaign going to reach an all-inclusive, diverse and multicultural community of HEART.
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