The invasion of Ukraine in Europe has become a major concern for the world. We pray for peace and the protection of the affected people and their children who are in peril.
Our children, the future citizens, deserve to inherit a brighter, kinder world. The current pandemic has caused so much upheaval, distress, anxiety, confusion and pain. They need to adapt and grow stronger.
Resilience is the key to adjusting to all changes and moving forward. In this context, here is a wish list for the children.
1. A home with loving parents who will provide, guide, and care for them. That all parents will lead by example and teach spiritual and family values, and good manners. That all children will be safe from domestic violence and abuse. Many families are affected by the absence of parents who are working abroad. May they have responsible relatives who can take care of them.
2. That all children, in turn, learn to appreciate, respect and be grateful to their parents, grandparents, and caregivers. That they learn good values, manners, and traditions. That they will be aware but not be contaminated by the materialistic world that they are exposed to.
3. Good health and protection from the pandemic. That children in marginalized and remote areas will have proper nourishment, medical and dental care to grow strong and healthy. That the essential vaccines will be available to them as soon as possible.
4. Quality education. Children need regular and affordable access to the internet. Online learning has been the new norm. That the public school system will have adequate support from government, the private sector and the telecom companies. That dedicated teachers will continue to teach despite the challenges of the prolonged crisis. That our complete factual history be taught in schools.
5. A pollution-free environment — clean air, pure water, open fields and parks with trees and flowers. That they may appreciate nature and learn how to protect the seas, rivers, lakes, and forests.
6. A comprehensive sports program for national, regional, and international competitions. The kids will learn the values of friendly competition and the art of winning and losing gracefully.
7. A society free of gender discrimination that will encourage girls and boys to aspire to become leaders with integrity in their chosen professions. That they will have the resources and opportunities to attain their goals and give back to their communities and country.
8. A progressive national arts and culture program and outreach projects to expand and enrich the consciousness of children.
9. More education grants for scholarships for deserving students at all levels. That the grants from corporate foundations would include adequate living and clothing allowances.
10. Quality and balanced programming on national television with more educational shows (such as those shown on the award-winning Knowledge Channel.) That producers will stop the exploitation of aspiring young performers in their noontime shows. That there would be more shows on history, science and environment.
11. An accelerated program for science, math, engineering, and internet technology to equip all future graduates with skills to compete in the international markets.
12. A stable economy. More jobs and livelihood programs so that children can go to school and concentrate on their studies.
13. A country with visionary national leaders — hardworking, honest public officials who serve with integrity, wisdom, and heart.
14. A safe, crime-free, drug-free, abuse-free environment. That all kids will be protected from the menace of predators, incest, and physical and emotional abuse.
15. That children in armed conflict areas will not be used as soldiers or couriers.
16. Freedom of expression. The right to be themselves. That adults realize that children need respect and are entitled to be heard. Open communication with parents and teachers.
17. Innocence. A happy childhood and the chance to enjoy being a child. Time to play, study, rest, and develop. Time to grow up at his own pace.
Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.