Filipino Kids Send Letters of Love to Medical Frontliners!
Gari Sy Rivera | April 01, 2020
“Even with a simple letter, they will know that we are sending them our good intentions, our prayers, and our hope”
On 29 March 2020, Letters of Love PH opened its page on Instagram and started posting letters of messages and artworks by kids who share their love for medical frontliners facing the fights against COVID-19.
Letters of Love PH is a passion project, started and lead by Icka Santos, a Bacoor, Cavite based pre-school teacher. As the school year continues amidst the quarantine, Icka sends work to her students online for them to accomplish with their parents, even holding fun and interactive “morning circle time” sessions with them via video chat. Not only do the young kids love the online session, so do their older kid siblings too. “They are very energetic, eager to learn and to participate in the activities,” she shares, “I received messages from the parents in the group and they say that the kids always look forward to morning circle time online.”
Still cooped up in their own homes, Icka was inspired to do more within her reach to spread positivity through her eager students and her frontliner sister, a perinatal anesthesiologist and now on augmented employment at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). “Most of her cases there, if not all, are to intubate COVID+ patients,” she relates, “I see her cry almost everyday looking at pictures of her colleagues exhausted with their work, or not appropriately attired for treating COVID+ patients.”
Encouraged to take action, Icka asked her sister if she send letters for the hospital staff to cheer them up. “I knew I could ask the kids in my morning circle group to make some and to send it to me so I can print it out and have it hand delivered via my sister.”
Coinciding with Dr. Nicole Perreras (RITM) online request for kids to create get well cards to lift up COVID+ patients’ spirits, Icka’s sister got in touch with Dr. Nicole and offered her sister’s help in getting more letters but for the frontliners, as she collects letters for the patients. “The kids were very excited to create artwork and write letters to our frontliners,” Icka says, “excited and very serious about what they were putting on paper because I think they knew how hardworking they all are.”
Icka shares that the project’s reach immediately exceeded her students. “I got a lot of letters not only from the kids in my morning circle class but also from other parts of the country.”
Seeing the passion in these kids who crafted their letters and artworks, it was observable that they knew about the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic as young as they were. “Based on what was written in their letters, the kids are fully aware of what’s happening in the country and why they need to stay at home,” she shares, “They also realize how big a role all of our frontliners are playing in this fight. One child even said that he was so proud to be a Filipino because he knows how brave they are, that they are the new heroes of our country.”
Almost all of the letters that Icka read stated that they have been praying for these medical health workers, asking how the doctors are feeling, and if they get enough vitamins. The letters include thanks for their service and sacrifices in the line of duty. The children also added Bible verses to assure them of God’s guidance and protection over them as well.
Overwhelmed as she manages the project herself, editing the letters to be more readable and clear as she prints and hands them over, Icka expresses that the response was quite big. “I have about 500+ letters in my inbox right now, and I know of some other IG accounts who have also posted letters for our frontliners.” Icka also shares that adults, artists, and friends of hers have sent messages and artworks for medical frontliners as well.
As the project continues, Icka shares that our support and prayers for our frontliners must be expressed. “I think a lot of people, like me, feel helpless that we’re just at home and not being able to physically go out and help our frontliners,” she adds, “I wanted to read more good news so I figured a lot of people, especially those in the hospitals, needed to hear or needed to know that we got their backs, that even with a simple letter, they will know that we are sending them our good intentions, our prayers, and our hope that this will all be over soon and that we will come out of it better and victorious.”