A children’s story about COVID-19 and proper handwashing has been lauded by the Australian Embassy during the 2022 Australia Alumni Excellence Award.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson handed the Bayanihan Award to Boom Enriquez, author of the children’s story entitled “In the Town of Kamayanan and the Legend of the Dancing Hands”, during the awarding ceremony held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.
The Bayanihan Award recognized his leadership, innovation and contributions in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, “which have promoted recovery and fostered resilience in your immediate community as well as throughout the Philippines.”
The story teaches children the importance of handwashing as a solution to COVID-19 pandemic through the tale featuring the fictional character of “CoVully”, who sowed chaos and fear in the town of “Kamayanan” and how he was defeated through the power of the “dancing hands” or proper washing of hands.
Enriquez collaborated with the creatives of the Itch Creatives company to produce the e-book.
A recipient of the Australia Awards Scholarship in 2013, Enriquez finished his Master of Science in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University with distinction. He is currently a Development Communications Consultant.
“Our hope was to help parents educate their kids about the COVID situation in an unintimidating way that’s full of hope. We felt that through this medium, we would be able to reach more children globally,” he said of his story.
“I’ve always believed that the Filipino is not only resilient, but innately generous. Social media has given a platform for these acts of selflessness to be read and amplified during this time of community quarantine, and these are the stories that our fellow Filipinos can hold on to for consolation as we try to cope with the new normal. Moreover, the deaths of our doctors and nurses on the job are the ones that have moved me. Their sacrifice should not be forgotten,” he added.
Aside from Enriquez, 10 other alumni were honored with the Bayanihan Award for their contributions in responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. The Australian Embassy also awarded the Alumnus of the Year, Excellence in Innovation and Young Achiever Award and special citations to other Australia alumni.
Access to the e-book “In the Town of Kamayanan and the Legend of the Dancing Hands” is free. Just visit https://www.facebook.com/townofkamayanan. As part of his health advocacy, author also allows the story to be shared in communities and schools through storytelling sessions. For updates and inquiries, send a message to the The Town of Kamayanan Facebook and Instagram pages.