Online Safety for Children: Sharing important resources for teachers, carers and parents

Dear friends of Buhay Makulay,

I hope you are all keeping well during this season. You, our partners and volunteers, and the thousands of dear children from our Children’s Fairs, have been on my mind in these past weeks. I am writing you from London in good health, where the days have been sunny and bright, despite the uphill battle against Covid-19. How are you? 
The season of quarantine and staying at home can be a challenge for many today, especially children. There is evidence for how hard it can be for children to navigate and cope during this season. Children are challenged with anxiety, fear, and many questions about what is going on. In addition, the pressures from life at home and life online can weigh heavy, and children may not always know how to ask for help or support. A help line from the UK has published a sample of what they are hearing from children about coronavirus – it includes worry about their family and their health, growing anxiety, experiences of bullying online, and sadly, even the surfacing of suicidal thoughts. (You can read the report from Childline here).
It is as important as ever to reach out to the children in our communities today. We all have a child or young person in our circle of influence. As we engage with children during the global pandemic and quarantine, here are three initiatives we can look into:
1 –  Stay connected with the children you care for. Reach out. 
It is incredible how parents, teachers and carers around the world are showing up for children, getting creative with teaching, supporting and connecting, so as not to compromise guidelines for physical distancing and safety.
Knowing you, our incredible Buhay Makulay partners and volunteers, I can imagine how you are exploring and pursuing every possible way to be there for the children in your life. Thank you!
A distressing reality for Filipino children is the risk they face of violence, even in their homes and increasingly now, online. As parents, teachers and carers, we are part of a support network for children and we can help by being present, equipped and vigilant on their behalf.
“Eighty per cent of Filipino children have experienced some form of violence at home, in school, in their community and online.” 2015 National Baseline Survey on Violence Against Children in the Philippines, UNICEF
The home is not always a bright and embracing place for all children. If you can shine a bit of light into a child’s day, in a way that is safe and that still follows government guidelines and health precautions, it could mean the world to them.
2 – Be an advocate for safety for children, especially online safety. 

Online safety begins at home.
 Many adults may not be prepared or equipped to help children navigate the online world.
If you are a parent and care for children at home, here are some resources: This website has advice on the first steps to take with children at home, such as making a family agreement, having a conversation about online safety, and setting up or reviewing parental controls on all devices and programs. Please share this with parents.
If you are a parent, teacher or work with children and young people, visit: This webpage helps adults, teachers and professionals learn more about some of the hot topics, key risks, and advice, regarding young people and the internet. It covers topics such as cyberbullying, social media, and gaming. It also covers more sensitive topics such as online grooming, sexting, and online sexual harassment.
These may feel like heavy topics to be learning about, but in order to be in a position to help support children facing challenges online today, we must also be educated and prepared ourselves.
3 – Maintain the channels that help children reach out to you.
Ensure that there are practices (and policies, if you are a professional or represent an organization) that put a child’s wellbeing and protection at the center. 
It is also important that we remain models for good behaviour, and that we signal good practices for children, their parents, and even our peers. We must be able to keep our doors open for children to reach out to us for support. However, be mindful that we do this in a way that still puts the child’s wellbeing and rights at the center.
Let us review our engagement and communications practices with children and ensure that we are using appropriate language, the appropriate channels, and including parents or guardians in the process. Make sure that we have guidelines in place that ensure that we are helping children feel and stay safe online.
If you work within an organization, even if you don’t work directly with children, it would also be good to check if child protection policies and practices are in place.

Here are some key resources to start with, from the NSPCC (The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in the UK):

(*All the links in this email are from UK-based organizations for children, as I have been doing my research on child protection in the UK. I hope to cover more Philippines-based resources in my next email. If you have other resources that you would like to share with others, particularly resources that relate to the Filipino context and support for children in the Philippines, please respond to this email.)  

Growing from Hope to Courage!

We’ve been all over the place! And bad at keeping you posted. (Sorry!) Since we last spoke wrote (a year ago, in a few days), we finished our 2014 season of hope-rallying and began our 2015 with a charge of strength!

Our plan to reach eight different communities affected by Yolanda in 2014 became a reality when we brought our banner of hope to children in Estancia, Nueva Vizcaya and Negros Occidental. It was an incredible year. The adventures of which we had not foreseen or imagined. We were brought way beyond our comfort zone and into the warm embrace of local community leaders in so many different places. One for the books. Our gratitude goes out to all those who supported us through the journey, on the road and off.

The whole experience placed on our heart the beautiful burden of continuing the story.

This year, we are back on the road, adamant about returning to the communities we connected with last year. This time, our vision is of strength and courage for all the little ones! In the reality of natural disasters, terminal illnesses, hunger and great financial need, it is a powerful message to share.

In just the past few months, we have had three Children’s Fairs – in Tacloban and Manila. And as we write, we are working from Roxas City, in the middle of the first of this year’s free training sessions for community workers and leaders. (It’s going wonderfully!) Not only are we hoping to return to visit our friends, we hope to train local leaders to independently run child-centered programs that are creative, educational and fun! What an adventure we are on!

We will be traveling out of Manila for most of the year, but if you would like to help support our efforts to build capacity for child-centered learning and play in a handful of communities across the country, please email us at We are continuously need of partners willing to share their time, resources and prayers.


Tanya, for Buhay Makulay

P.S. For more updated news, please follow our Facebook page, which seems to be the most convenient means of communication. And follow this blog too!

Thank You, Volunteers! August 23 Children’s Fair, Calauan, Laguna.

Your response was incredible! Thank you, dear friends, for taking on the challenge of 1,500 kids with us!

Volunteers, we are continuously grateful for your serving and compassionate hearts that allow us to reach children all over the Philippines. If you were in Calauan with us, you may agree that this was one of the craziest Children’s Fairs we’ve ever had. The sheer number of children that were present, the heat of the sun, and the chaos of managing so many activities at once could have been completely overwhelming. But God is faithful and you were patient and loving the whole way through. THANK YOU!

We are also certain that you will agree that the children taught us much about hope in the few hours we had together. They shared their dreams, they shared their joys and they shared their smiles with us.

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Buhay Makulay was blessed with first-time and returning volunteers from Manila from all walks of life. We also had the help of local youth and young adults from TVET, as well as the blessing of the priests and nuns who live and serve Calauan, Laguna. The volunteers are in the photo above – still smiling after a long day of play and love with the children!

Help Needed at our Children’s Fair in Laguna for 1,500 Kids! AUGUST 23!

Next weekend we will be hosting our 5th Children’s Fair of 2014 and our first adventure in Calauan, Laguna! The community we will be spending time with represent hundreds of families relocated by 2009’s Typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana, and 2013’s Supertyphoon Yolanda/Haiyan. This same community was also hit hard by the recent storm Glenda, which brought damage to their homes, power outtages and food shortage.

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This is the largest number of children we have ever invited to an activity and we need your help to make this happen! The nuns and priests that have been ministering in this community have a daily feeding program for about 1500 children! There is no shortage of children in the community and we welcome the opportunity to share hope with so many little ones.
Below are some ways you can get involved:
We need many volunteers for our activity with 1500 children! Volunteers need to be able to commit 5am –  6pm on the day of the event. We will provide transportation to and from Union Church of Manila, in Legaspi Village, Makati.
If you are interested, please respond to this email or get in touch with me (Tanya) at 09178274755. All volunteers must confirm attendance by Sunday, August 17th, and will receive volunteer info via email.
Children will be receiving a Buhay Makulay tshirt, a box of crayons, a prize or two from some games, and food for the day. All donations will be going toward items such as these that go to the children, and not toward transportation or logistics (unless specified by the donor).
If you would like to donate in kind, we would gladly receive any of the following items for this activity:
-simple toys (stuffed toys, yoyos, balls, dolls, nothing that requires batteries)
-school supplies (notebooks, pencils/pens, pencil cases)
-art supplies (poster paint, face paint, paintbrushes)
Drop off point is Union Church of Manila corner Rada & Legaspi Sts, Makati,, c/o Len Aritao or Buhay Makulay, or make arrangements through 09178274755.
Direct deposits may be made to our BPI checking account.
Account name: Buhay Makulay Children’s Project Inc.
Account number:  0041-0339-24.
PRAY with us
The Children’s Fair is a fantastic opportunity to share the joy and hope of Jesus with children living in the midst of different challenging situations – chronic/terminal illness, extreme poverty, abuse, or abandonment. Pray that their hearts begin to open, ready to receive the love of God, shared through us.

How to be a part of our upcoming Children’s Fair – July 12th!

In less than two weeks we will also be hosting our eighth annual Children’s Fair at the San Lazaro Hospital, Manila, and the fourth fair of the year. Below are some ways you can get involved:


We still have some room for volunteers for our upcoming Children’s Fair in Manila on July 12 with 100 children. Volunteers need to be able to commit 7am-3pm on the day of the event. We will provide light breakfast, snacks and lunch.

If you are interested, please email All volunteers must confirm attendance by Friday, July 4th, and will later receive an orientation.


We are collecting donations in kind. These items will be added to the gift boxes that we are giving the children.

  • Crayons – 1 box of 16 crayons, any brand
  • Toothbrushes – packaged individually, children or adult size, any brand
  • Toothpaste – 10-12ml sachets, any brand
  • Shampoo – 14-16ml sachets, any brand


Drop off point is Union Church of Manila corner Rada & Legaspi Sts, Makati,, c/o Len Aritao or Buhay Makulay.


PRAY with us

The Children’s Fair is a fantastic opportunity to share the joy and hope of Jesus with children living in the midst of different challenging situations – chronic/terminal illness, extreme poverty, abuse, or abandonment. Pray that their hearts begin to open, ready to receive the love of God, shared through us.



School Supply Drive: 10 more days to give!

Thank you for the donations! There’s still time to give to PlanaFORMA’s School Supply Drive! All donations go to the children of the Buhay Makulay Children’s Project Inc.

2 notebooks + 2 pens = free class of your choice (Forma, Zumba or yoga!!) What a great deal!

Receiving donations at Fort & Centris studios until June 25. Free class valid for 3 months.

Thank you PlanaFORMA!


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Hh is for Hope =Buhay Makulay x Alphabetype

Buhay Makulay has got some awesome friends in Singapore! Have you guys heard of Alphabetype?


Alphabetype describes themselves as, “The playful side of type, Alphabetype started as a series of experiments with type and graphic design, constantly on the lookout for obsessively fun ways to share and spread the love of typography.”

We are so excited about our collaboration. Big thank you to all the Manila-based Alphabetype-rs who supported their first run of tees. The proceeds went to our Children’s Fair in Leyte last May 16.

The TtShirt Project’s Hh Alphabetees second batch are available in Singapore, in black and white shirts. Sizes are Teen Size, XS, S, M, and L. Order now through

Check them out at

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Buhay Makulay at the Set Apart Girl Conference (Manila Simulcast)

Happy Saturday!!!

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Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 10.48.38 AMBuhay Makulay is at the Annual Set Apart Girl Conference Simulcast Manila, at the Union Church of Manila. We have the privilege of being the beneficiary at this beautiful event! Thank you, Union Church for inviting us!

We’re here until 5pm today at a table by the entrance. We’ve got free jelly ace, awesome info cards, a sign up sheet for more information and cards for sale.

Later in the program, Tanya will also be sharing about the Buhay Makulay story and vision of hope for children across the Philippines.

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Thank you to the Paper Project Inc. for helping us fundraise today. They’ve got a one day sale of their beautiful cards at a discounted price. Their cute and witty handmade cards are winning everyone over! Find more of their cards here.