Members of a Plan Philippines school team took part in an international online debate on 'safe schools' on 13th November.They learned about Disaster Risk Reduction in school through training sessions run by Plan and have since formed a 'texter clan': a group of schoolmates who relay warning messages via SMS to friends in high-risk rural areas when danger threatens. This has proved a life-saver. The islands are prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity and are plagued by around 22 typhoons a year.
The team members, aged between 14 and 17, are all passionate about helping to ensure other young people and their families are more prepared for disasters. 15-year-old Angel is an officer of the School Student Government which means she can reach out to lots of children. She participates in discussions about the different hazards and risks both in their school and the community and explores solutions.
Two young men (both called Mark) in the group founded the texter clan. 14-year-old Mark B is a child leader in his community's disaster risk reduction committee and a radio DJ! He was instrumental in getting support in and out of school to get the voices of children heard by community leaders. Mark A (14) and Sanjoe (17) are trained in first aid and community drills.15 year old Charidel is on the School Student Government and a member of the community junior emergency team.
During the debate they explained the risks they face. "(There is) the risk of flooding, landslides, falling coconuts and earthquakes. We have conducted symposiums and drills in order for the students to be prepared in times of calamities."
BBC World Class helps UK schools to twin with schools around the globe as part of the educational legacy of the 2012 London Olympics. During the week of 12-16 November, it is running a series of on-line debates to mark International Education Week, a British Council initiative.
Find out more about our work in the Philippines and in Disaster Risk Reduction.