Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pangkat Aklat: Flickristasindios reaches out to Isla Pulo

More than 300 new and old books in Filipino, English, Math, Literature, and other reference books were gathered for 4 weeks by the members of Flickristasindios from among its members, and organizations like CANVAS and CI Philippines.

Just a few days before the typhoon Pedring struck Luzon, the books finally reached its intended beneficiaries on September 24, 2011--the school children (both elementary and high school) of Isla Pulo, which sits in the fringes of fishponds located off the coast of Malabon City and Navotas.

Isla Pulo and SAMASAISIP community organization

Isla pulo is home to at least 100 poor families or roughly 500 individuals.  They live on subsistence fishing, charcoal-making, and working fishponds.  Some who have small capital have invested in small variety store and food vending.  Some also engage in odd jobs.

As it was told, Isla pulo was a large sandbar in middle of the sea.  As years go by, the strong tides during typhoons pushed the mass of sand inland  that they had to relocate every time there is a big land movement.  At this time, we find them inhabiting the mangrove area along the fringes of large commercial fishponds.

Isla Pulo community, though financially challenged, has something to be proud of--their community organization called SAMASAISIP (Samahan ng Maralita sa Isla Pulo), which becomes their social capital in leveraging and engaging with development organizations, donors and interest groups like Flickristasindios.  They were supported by the Norwegian Alliance Mission for 5 yeatrs, until it phased out from the area.

Currently, they have a project called Youth Development Activity (YDA) whose purpose is to encourage the youth to engage in more fruitful activities like education.  There is a group of volunteer college students who tutor the children during weekends.  Some of the high school students living in the community, likewise, tutor their younger siblings.  They have built a YDA Center in the middle of the community that serve as their weekend classroom and library, as well as a venue for other community activities.

Flickristasindios' response

Flickristasindios has been conducting several outreach activities for some communities.  It had its outreach activity in Teresa, Rizal in Payatas, Quezon City, the streetchildren of Cubao, and now in Isla Pulo.  It took four weeks to gather the books from various sources like the Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS), Children International - Philippines, and of course from among its members who unselfishly gave new, old and usable textbooks, and other instructional materials and posters.

Ree Joie Ibarra, one of the administrators of the group spearheaded the activity. Simple at it seems, this endeavor proved to be a challenging one.

"Initially, only book pledges were coming in. I think, we only had 30 books after the first book-gathering activity. So the anxiety lasted until the last few days before the actual event date. So address this, constant promotion and buzz were done. I asked Rico to create posters and second phase of the promotion was the Info Bit which showcased the real situation of the community. Also, the solicitation helped a lot. It's 60 books guaranteed," Ree Joie relates.

Renowned painter, Elmer Borlongan, facilitated some donations from CANVAS:

I asked the Executive Director of CANVAS, Gigo Alampay, about the planned children's library in Isla Pulo. He did not hesitate to donate their books and immediately sent them to me. My wife Plet and I included some Filipino children's books also. We believe this is for a good cause and the Flickristasindios did a good job organizing it. The children of Isla Pulo will benefit greatly and the private sector as well as government people should continue and support the project.

The Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) promotes greater awareness and appreciation for Philippine art and culture principally through exhibitions and projects that, not only showcase artworks from some of the best young contemporary Filipino artists around, but also lead to the publication of books, prints, and other merchandise that make these artworks more accessible to the people.

But with a true-blue Indio spirit, who is not easily disheartened, the campaign went on until more books were gathered. In the end, there more than 300 books, enough to fill the bookshelf the community has constructed for their community library and activity center.

Intrinsically rewarded

Photo by Rommel Laurente
The community's response was just overwhelming. The song and dance numbers by the children inside the cramped center never failed to entertain us.  A mother who spoke in behalf of the community for the donated books was more than enough to fill our hearts.  Indeed, the spirit of volunteerism and a sense of community was just overwhelming that day--and we say, it was a successful outreach activity of the Indios!

"The event became successful because of members' desire to really help. Giving back and reaching out have been the inculcated already in the Indios' culture. It has been the second identity of the group next to photography," Ree Joie proudly says.

"It is overwhelming, to be an instrument of sharing, giving back, education and most of all fulfilling their dreams makes me proud of be of service,"
she continues.

Let's hear it from the other Indios

Louie Agapinan:
Photo by: Lorelei Pajemna
I was touched by the words of the parent when she thanked us for the books, saying that they don't have enough money to buy them.  I got teary eyed while taking a video.  I am happy that I have been a part of this actvity, knowing that we have helped and made more people happy.  I hope we can reach out to more communities in the future and you can always count me in, anytime. PROUD to be an INDIO!"

Lorelie Pajemna:

It was actually a privilege to be part of this activity. I know that not all of us are given the chance or time to reach out to our less fortunate brethren, especially those who live in places you don’t even know would exist, just like Isla Pulo.  I have been a residence of Malabon (the closest town next to Navotas) for many years now but I never heard about this community.  Had I not been a member of the Flickristasindios, I would still be clueless up to this moment. 
I have attended many outreach programs before that was also organized by the Indios, but this one is quite different for me, because aside from walking and hurdling the muddy fish ponds walls or walkways for 15 to 20 minutes.  Thank God that there is a boat to carry the books to the community. Also I find it different because instead of giving them a temporary relief for their needs, we have given them something that they can use for a long period of time and it can also be passed on to their next of kin. 

Carvin Medina
Pangkat Aklat was another great opportunity to give back to the community and another eye-opening "wow meron pang mga tao nabubuhay nang ganito sa ganitong lugar" experience for me. I do hope, however, that our donated books will be relevant and appropriate to the community's immediate needs. I also have faith in the community in Isla Pulo that they would maximize what they get.

Post Script

Apologies for this late blog post. Some uneventful situations prevented the blogger to post this blog. 
Typhoon Pedring has devastated the entire Luzon island, brought storm surge in Manila Bay, including the small community in Isla Pulo.  By merely looking at the news about the storm surge in Roxas Boulevard in Manila during the typhoon, we became worried about the community.  They could have been devastated. The Indios already resigned to the possible fact that the books, which have been barely touched by the children, have already gone with the strong tides.

Last week, Flickristasindios was informed that the community protected the books the Flickristasindios donated.  The children are now using it to study their lessons.

0 people have commented. Leave your comments too!:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting and reading my blog! If you want to say something about this blog entry, please leave your comments below.

Please be informed that the author prevents spamming, thus the moderated comments. Nonetheless, your comments will be published after the author has reviewed them.

Bear in mind that your contact information will be kept confidential.

If you wish to send me private message, please follow this link:

Salamat! (Thank you!)

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More