Ontario Filipino women’s group launches digital vaccine info drive
A group of Filipinas in Hamilton, Ontario launched a digital campaign targeting vaccine hesitancy and pandemic isolation in an effort to bring together the Canadian city’s Filipino community.
The Filipinas of HamOnt project, #MahalagaKa or #YouMatter, supports women, girls and femme-identifying Hamiltonians of Filipino heritage.
Anabelle Ragsag, co-founder of Filipinas of HamOnt, said the first part of the campaign addresses vaccine hesitancy, vaccine equity and vaccine safety through posts featuring the voices of Filipino health experts.
Each post is in Tagalog and English. The project’s social media co-ordinator Sheilla Diamse, told TheSpec.com that bilingualism is “critical” to the project’s success as it builds trust and confidence.
The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion as well as the Mariam Assefa Fund are backing the project.
Charissa Cordon, chief of nursing practices at Hamilton Health Sciences, is the first subject-matter expert in the series, with her post stressing the importance of getting vaccinated and finding “evidence-based information” that can help in making decisions about vaccination.
“The intention to be out there and be that resource for them,” said Cordon. “We’re still seeing people who are not vaccinated, so we want to reach as many Filipinos as possible.”
Co-founder Jessica Vinluan explained that another part of the campaign is a virtual workshop series called Women Writing Women.
The two-day workshop focuses on storytelling and writing, where women write letters to their future selves and to other women about their experiences during the pandemic. The pieces can be submitted to the Hamilton Public Library, which is collecting stories and images for an archived history of COVID-19 in the city.
“We haven’t had a moment to reflect, unpack or really understand these emotions, especially when we’re just trying to survive,” Vinluan told TheSpec.com. “We want to create a safe space where they can share their stories.”
An art workshop for Filipino children, another part of the project, aims to help kids express their feelings during the pandemic and what getting vaccinated means to them.
For more information about the campaign and to sign up for workshops and events, visit filipinasofhamont.com.