The children from 26 government primary schools at Tongatapu and ‘Eua were adequately adjusted to the just play emergency program since the beginning from GPS Angaha.
Since the program launched, the Just Play Emergency team started straight away from ‘Eua and all the government primary schools in the eastern district of Tongatapu. The reactions was completely awesome as the children and their communities were excited to participate and to learn these kind of training.
Palu Tu’amoheloa, Just Play Project manager found it very hard to start the program, but she proved it wrong when they started in ‘Eua.
“It’s amazing when we started and we took note that they focused and make sure they picked up every little thing we taught them,” Tu’amohela said.
“During these period, 8 weeks of this program, we need to build their understanding through the themes, messages and fun games that we provided and also we made this environment to be more fun in order for them to learn the skills based on the emergency preparedness program.”
“Their parents were also very supportive as we provided forms for their consent, and it’s almost 98% of them agreed and sign to show they approved their children to be part of this very important program after school,” she added.
“The first week we focused on providing pre-questionnaire so we would find out what were their experienced during the Cyclone Gita then we moved from there. Then we described the safe places for any natural disasters, who to follow or to trust in times of emergencies, when to wash their hands and how to keep their food safe. In the completion of the first 8 weeks, another evaluation will conduct to forsee the level of their understanding regarding the emergency program,”says Tu’amoheloa.
Tu’amoheloa stated probably early November, the feedback and report on this program will be finalize and to report back to all donors
Lavenia Yalovi is the Just Play Project Manager for Fiji Football Association was leading her team from Fiji to assist Tu’amohela and her team in running the emergency program here in Tonga.
Yalovi was overwhelmed to see the excitement in children during the first session in schools.
“This is what we called, expect the unexpected,” says Yalovi.
“I was amazed to see children enjoyed activities, having fun and at the same time absorbing messages of the Just Play Program. It’s remind me the children back home, there is are no difference at all. They loved to be part of the Just Play Program irrespective of which country the Program is implemented or which ethnic group, culture, language or grid they belong to,” she said.
Yalovi believed the “Health & Wellness” is the most important topic for every child simply because that messages children will learn from the sessions such as water, sanitation and hygiene, making healthy choices, eat well –stay well and hand washing is not only applicable to an Emergency but lessons that is applicable to them for the rest of their life.
Yalovi and her team will end their commitment for Tonga at the end of the week after working very tirelessly in the Kingdom since they arrived.
Mr. Lui ‘Aho, extended his gratitude and appreciation to Yalovi and her team for their effort that contributed over the weeks in making sure the emergency program is on the right direction.
Just Play is an award-winning sport for development programme using the power of football to improve the lives of children in the Pacific. The programme was designed in partnership with the Australian Government, the Football Federation of Australia, the New Zealand Government, UNICEF and the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) in 2009.