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Children of the Raging Storm: STAND and UNITE! DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS!

The Annual Summer Camp was held last May 23-29, 2011 at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in Silang, Cavite. The week long activity is in partnership with the European Union through the project “Overcoming Barriers, Building Bridges: Making Justice and Services Accessible to Children Victims of Armed Conflict Through Effective and Reliable Monitoring and Reporting of Child Rights Violations” and implemented by the Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in partnership with the Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia, Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s concerns, KARAPATAN and GABRIELA. This project is part of the European Initiatives for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
 
Workshop participants and activities

A total of 60 children, aged 9 to 17 from different areas of Southern Luzon and the National Capital Region participated in the activity. Most of them are children of victims of extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances while some are children from urban poor communities who face dire poverty everyday. 
The theme of this year’s summer camp was “Children of the Raging Storm: Stand and Unite! Defend your Rights!”. The activities focused on the release and meaning construction, which are important phases in CRC’s therapeutic process, using play and the arts as medium. It was a venue for the children to express their thoughts and feelings about their experiences and help them understand these experiences through discussions and field trips. 
The summer camp started with a workshop on children’s rights, based on the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, which was the foundation of all the activities. In the succeeding days, children took part in the art, theater and writing workshops and exposure trips and learned more about the Philippine society, the history of the Filipino people’s struggles and the roots of the current problems of the country which they experience in their everyday lives. 
Throughout the camp activities, children were encouraged to use the arts, such as theatre, music, drawing and writing to reflect upon and share their experiences and learnings.  
Cultural Solidarity night

The last night at the camp was vibrant and energetic as participants once again had an opportunity to showcase their artistic abilities through a cultural solidarity night.   The children came up with presentations based on what they have learned from the workshops. The younger children performed skits, while the older ones performed songs with interpretative dance.  The children cheered as groups took turns with their presentations, and shared laughters during their peers’ comic moments onstage.
The right to participate

The closing session of the camp was centered on what the children thought they could do to contribute to the struggles of marginalized sectors of society. Their learnings in the camp strengthened their resolve to participate in defending their rights and the struggle for social change.