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When the World Sneezed

We’re rising out of the pandemic and there are many learnings to take away from this life-changing, globally shared experience. Perhaps the most important one is that we need to be better at adopting healthier habits. 

This is what prompted Filipina Mom author Ivanna Dela Torre to create the children’s picture book WHEN THE WORLD SNEEZED.  

Having been in the corporate affairs field for over 20 years either advising clients across Southeast Asia or heading the function in the Philippines where she launches advocacies such as health literacy, disease prevention and vaccine confidence; and having a toddler whose first 1000 days were spent in lockdown after lockdown… this book was simply Ivanna’s attempt at explaining the world’s new normal to her own child. She thought other grownups could also benefit from having a light and colourful material that works without working too hard, and is encouraging enough for tots and early graders to want to have an even deeper conversation on health.

Her toddler’s bed time offered her the quiet time she needed to write. From writing and working with the editor Dr. Antonio Torralba in the Philippines, to working through Fiverr with the illustrator YulyaFedkiv based in Ukraine, applying for ISBN from the National Library of the Philippines, and printing in China through Alibaba — she ran a global supply chain all through her iPhone!

This whole process is a prime example of a without-a-box implementation to educate and change mindset and behaviour. This is why she now has schools and barangays lined up for her book tour. She’s also running a Read & Donate campaign where she donates part of the proceeds to scholarship funds of schools such as the Mano Amiga Academy.

“I’ve learned from the programs I’ve launched for MNCs, governments, and international organizations that to effect change, we need to fully understand the issues, be focused on the long-term impact, have measurable outcomes, and mount creative, visually compelling initiatives,” shared Ivanna. 

The book became the confluence of her professional and personal life. The skills she honed through her professional experience, the social consciousness that she inherited from her family having run schools for the underserved for more than 70 years, and her personal promise to her child to leave behind a better, greener, kinder world. These are what move her to create impactful initiatives such as When the World Sneezed.

What do you think?

Written by Gabriel

Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.

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