Help a Child Build a Life.
Lea Bonilla Ranillo
October 24, 2011
School children, particularly, the less fortunate of identified depressed barangays of Zamboanga del Norte, their families, the school, the community, the local government units, the Chapter members who actively supported and participated in the projects
• To help uplift the standard of education and living conditions of the less privileged children in the Province of Zamboanga del Norte, the poorest province of the Philippines, by providing them with essential material and spiritual needs and support for their health, education, environment and spiritual well-being. • To motivate and encourage the less fortunate school children of the importance of education as a necessary tool to alleviate them from poverty. • To create social awareness in the community as to the need to help the less fortunate students and the school. • To create awareness among young active citizens in the community about the vision and mission of JCI. • To serve as agents for positive change.
In 2010, the Province of Zamboanga del Norte was declared by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) as among the top ten poorest province in the country. Aware of its civic duty and social responsibility, JCI Greater Dipag under the leadership of LO President Lea B. Ranillo immediately planned a community development program to help address this alarming situation. After surveys and analysis conducted, it was identified that children, particularly elementary school children, in sixteen (16) barangays in the province are the most affected in the present economic crisis suffered namely: 1. Sero-an, Katipunan, ZN 2. Dabiak, Katipunan, ZN 3. Labakid, Roxas, ZN 4. Dohinob, Roxas, ZN 5. Cape, Roxas, ZN 6. Lipakan, Roxas, ZN 7. Meses, Manukan, ZN 8. Suisayan, Manukan, ZN 9. Lumaping, Jose Dalman, ZN 10. Bitoon, Jose Dalman, ZN 11. J. Macias, Sindangan, ZN 12. Imelda, Sindangan, ZN 13. Calubian, Sindangan, ZN 14. Polayo, Siayan, ZN 15. Gonayen, Siayan, ZN 16. Mangilay, Siayan, ZN For this reason, the organization came up with the program title: "Help a Child Build a Life" and formulated a series of activities aimed to assist and develop a healthy community for these affected children in the field of education, health, environment, and spiritual well-being. . To accomplish the program, JCI Greater Dipag undertook various fund-raising projects to raise funds necessary to finance the planned projects like the Valentine: His and Hers, Buhay Ukay-Ukay, Friday the 13th Entertainment Show, Hudyaka ZaNorte Balikbayan Picnic and solicited amounts from generous donors/sponsors, which generated for the organization the total amount of about TWO HUNDRED FORTY THOUSAND PESOS (P240,000.00). Armed with the funds necessary to implement its program, the organization started with the “Walk a Mile, Give a Smile Project” wherein a total of six hundred (600) bare-foot children were given slippers in the barangays of Meses, Manukan, and Labakid, Roxas. This was followed by “Project: Cheer a Toddler” where used toys, used clothings, used reading books, coloring materials and supplies were given to the day-care center of barangay Labakid, Roxas, then “Oplan: Balik Eskwela 2011” which the organization was able to give notebooks, ballpen, pencil and sharpener, to a total of about six thousand four hundred (6,400) less fortunate school children from pre-school, grade 1 up to grade 6, in all the sixteen (16) elementary schools of the said identified barangays. Good health being vital to the children’s well being, the organization implemented the national project – Vitamin A and Deworming Campaign, and distributed and administered Vitamin A and Deworming Medicine to a total of three thousand six hundred (3,600) elementary school children ages 5 to 10 years old in the sixteen (16) identified elementary schools. But seeing many malnourished children in barangay Labakid, Roxas, the organization further embarked on a project “Kahimsog Atimanan, Kalawasan Kinahanglan” (Take care of your health because you need your body), a supplementary feeding project that treated the impoverished children in the said barangay to feast on arroz-caldo, spaghetti, bread and orange juice, and were also made to participate in parlor games and talent presentation with cash prizes awarded to winners. In its desire to enrich their faith and strengthen their resolve for a better life and a better future, JCI Greater Dipag embarked on a bible story telling to the children entitled “Bible Stories” where children are made to gather to hear the beautiful and inspirational stories of the life and works of Jesus Christ based on the bible. And as an incentive for them to aspire for excellence, the organization has institutionalized the giving of the Youth Leadership Excellence Award (YLEA) in the said identified elementary schools. Finally, to make the future more brighter for them, JCI Greater Dipag implemented the “Green is the Color of Love: Plant a Tree, Save a Soul” Project, a tree-planting project participated in by two (2) high schools, the PNP Provincial Command, and the Local Government Unit of Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte, planting a total of three (300) hundred trees in barangays Labakid, Roxas, and Dohinob, Roxas, culminating the activity with the signing of a MOA with the beneficiary barangays, the PNP and LGU undertaking a shared responsibility to jointly care and protect the growth of said planted trees for the future of the next generation.
Despite the successful implementation of the program, there are still a lot of things that should and can be done to help improve and develop the life and conditions of the school children in these identified barangays, and for this reason, JCI Greater Dipag respectfully submits these following recommendations, to wit: 1. That government must construct, improve and maintain the farm to market roads in these remote and depressed barangays to spur economic and agricultural activity for its residents and alleviate them from the bondage of poverty; 2. That a request be made to the DEPED and local officials for them to build more school buildings proportionate to the number of enrolled students and equip every school with complete facilities from chairs, tables, comfort rooms and good water supply as many students do not have classrooms, have no tables and chairs, no comfort rooms and no running water so as to make it a conducive place for learning; 3. That JCI Greater Dipag lobby with local government units for the appropriation of funds to support the educational needs of school children in the remote and depressed barangays in their locality by providing assistance on the provision for text books, notebooks and other school supplies as daily food for the table is more of a matter of survival as compared to buying school supplies for their children; 4. That efforts be made to coordinate and assist the DOH in addressing the health and other medical concerns of the children, and with the DSWD for a sustainable nutritional program for the children considering that many students eat frog and other unpalatable food for lunch just to go to school; 5. That JCI Greater Dipag continue to be pro-active in its efforts to help these depressed barangays and complement local government efforts in the delivery of services to these communities; 6. That embark into a more massive information dissemination campaign to continue creating awareness in the developed communities of their social responsibility to help the less developed and depressed barangays in the province;
With the successful implementation of the program, the following are the perceived direct and indirect benefits generated: a. To the school children, they were directly benefited with the provision of much needed school materials and supplies necessary for their daily learning use; with reading and coloring materials to supplement their classroom lectures; with vitamins, medicines and food to improve their health conditions to make them fit and hit healthy to enable them to sustain in their daily pursuit for knowledge for a better future; with slippers for their use in going to and from school and for their improved grooming and healthy living; with enriched knowledge of the life and works of Jesus Christ making them better Christian students and citizens; with incentive of an award in recognition of their quest for excellence; and a healthy living environment with the growth of the new planted trees. Indirectly, the said school children were also inspired and motivated to study harder as they have seen the value of education for a better life in the future and that they have come to realize that there are also other people who they do not know and have not met before in their life also loves and cares for them. b. To the parents, they were given a much needed respite in buying school and personal supplies for their children which are less of a priority for them as their meager money was made of good use to buy food for their daily sustenance instead. Moreover, they have seen the value of education for the future of their children and with the help given, it has motivated them to encourage their children to go to school as they know that there are many generous and kind-hearted people who are willing to help their children succeed in school and in life. c. To the school and the teachers, the program has increased attendance of students in the school and they have also realized that there are other well-meaning individuals who are willing to help them in their efforts to educate these children and make a better life for each of them. And with the slow action of government service and nil resources allocated for them, they are now confident that there are other sources upon which they can tap for help and support in their effort to improve the quality of education and service for these school children. d. To the community and the local officials, it made them aware of the dire situation and the immediate need for more educational and health support and attention to these school children. Precisely, in response to this and seeing school children using cellophanes and nylons for their books and notebooks, the Municipal Mayor of Manukan, Hon. Eugene Caballero, gave out school bags to the school children in barangays Meses, Suisayan, and other barangays in his municipality, while Governor Rolando E. Yebes, also gave out school bags to the school children in the barangays of Seroan and Dabiak, both of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte. In addition thereto, medical outreach programs were also immediately arranged and conducted by the local government units concerned in the barangays which JCI Greater Dipag had identified. On the part of the private sector, JCI Greater Dipag was able to successfully awaken the sense of social responsibility of many individuals and corporate leaders as they voluntarily and generously supported the program thru donations of reading books and other school supplies, used clothings, used toys, reading books and other educational materials for the use of the children, and even going to the extent of participating in the activity itself. As a result, there are now more people and corporations who are willing to generously help and finance endeavors that addresses the plight of the less fortunate school children. And among the tangible benefit generated, Banco Dipolog has agreed to be a major partner of JCI Greater Dipag in its upcoming project, the Outstanding Teacher of Zamboanga del Norte. 4. To the participants, the experience was worth the time, effort and money for they have learned so much in their active participation in the different activities undertaken. They have learned of the necessity of planning, survey, and analysis, the importance of budgeting, management, team work and leadership, and most of all, the value of loving, caring, giving and helping others.