Cordillera Administrative Region- Saying goodbye, as they say, is never an easy thing. But walking away is even harder to do.
Bidding farewell is an inevitable episode of life. We have to let go of our toys, shoes, and loved ones. Doing so is a challenge- requiring a lot of strength and courage. What more for women and children who have been through the trials of life?
This led to the creation of a Discharge Program for the clients of the Regional Haven for Women and Girls (Regional Haven) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here.
The program is intended for the clients to be discharged for a smoother transition of their separation from their co-clients and the staff in the Regional Haven. This aims to minimize the unpleasant feeling resulting from the said experience by preparing the individuals who will be left in the center through the provision of ample time to bid their goodbyes.
“The Regional Haven is a temporary shelter for women and girls who have been victims of various forms of abuse and who are in need of protective custody. As planned, they should be reunified or reintegrated to their communities through their relatives who were assessed to be capable of facilitating their rehabilitation”, DSWD-CAR Regional Director Janet P. Armas said.
Through the Regional Haven, these clients are provided with social, home life, educational, psychological, health, economic, recreational, dietary, and spiritual programs and services that help the clients cope with the negative circumstances that they have experienced. The rehabilitation of these clients also follow a process that includes Intake Interview and Assessment, Treatment Planning and Contract Setting, Treatment Plan Implementation, Evaluation, and Case Termination and Discharge.
The Discharge Program is being implemented in the last stage to help the residents move on and start a new life outside the center. First implemented in July 2014, the activity was conducted with the monthly birthday celebration of the clients within the covered period. Initially, it aims to provide the clients an opportunity to express their experiences and close whatever gaps that they have encountered during their stay in the center. It also aims to strengthen the relationship among the clients and the staff. The program then covers formal discussion such as the Parental Capability Assessment and Progress Reporting by the Local Social Welfare and Development Office involved.
However, in 2017the Discharge Program developed into the Rituals of Hope and Goodbye which now incorporates activities aiming to create good memories for the clients to be discharged.
“From formal discussions, our activity begins with a prayer of hope followed by the burning of ashes that is a representation of letting go of the regrets of their past. This is followed by the sharing of well wishes and message of gratitude, awarding of tokens and gifts, and a fellowship meal among the clients and the center staff”, Centers and Institutions Coordinator Edna Benitez shared.
The clients to be reintegrated usually become emotional during the activity because they seem to feel the concern and love manifested by the other clients and the Regional Haven staff. However, this also serves as a motivation for the remaining clients to persevere and work harder for them to have their own Rituals of Hope and Goodbye.
“Noong nag-stay ako sa Regional [Haven] at nadischarge ako, naakita ko na ang laki ng pinagbago ko dahil natuto ako sa lahat ng gawaing bahay. Natuto akong tumayo sa sarili kong paa at ito’y gagampanan ko ngayon sa aking pagbabago. Ang masasabi ko sa Discharge [Program] ng Regional Haven, sobrang saya dahil hanggang sa dulo, kasama ko kayong lahat at hindi niyo po ako pinabayaan”, Samantha, one of the former clients shared.
“Tungkol sa Discharge Program, ang masasabi ko lang ay maganda na ginagawa nila iyon kahit minsan ay nakakalungkot. Pero ganoon naman talaga. Sa tingin ko, kailangan talaga itong gawin dahil kailangan nang lahat na mag-bagong buhay pag-labas nila ng DSWD [Regional Haven]. Kailangan nilang tumayo sa sarili nilang paa na gamit ang mga natutunan sa loob ng DSWD [Regional Haven]”, Ailyanna, anothere client said.
“Admitting a client to the Regional Haven means that another woman has been abused. And to see them go out of the center because they have fully recovered is a bitter sweet moment for all of us- bitter for we have to let go of someone we have loved and taken care of but sweet because we know that she can now start anew. Although farewell brings tears to our eyes, there will always be hope in goodbyes, especially for our clients who have successfully hurdled the challenges of their past. With these statements from our clients, we are hoping that life continue to smile at them”, Director Armas said.
From 2014 to 2018, there are 102 clients who have undergone this program. From January to May 2019, 84 clients were discharged from the Regional Haven.
By Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva with Kate Marie Junio