The year is coming to an end so fast and it is hard to believe that our current volunteers are nearly at the end of their placements. We are all very excited with the historic news that a “Framework Agreement” has been signed between the Philippines Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, however there is still much work to been done to ‘win’ the peace.
Our current batch of volunteers are coming to the end of their placements and we took the opportunity to ask one of them about their work when they visited the KI office recently.
Nohman Khalil, 22, was the first KI volunteer to be placed at an International NGO. He is working with Forum ZFD (Civil Peace Service), a German NGO that works on the development of methods and tools for dealing with violent conflicts.
What has been your role as a KI volunteer?
My main role is to document all the activities and events of Forum ZFD. I am also tasked with monitoring and collating all the news reports and articles about the work of Forum ZFD, the conflict in Mindanao and the peace process. The role is very interesting as I have learned so much about what is going in development in Mindanao. Recently I have been more of a participant in workshops and I was stunned when I worked alongside International consultants who were asking for my opinion!
What has been your biggest challenge as a volunteer?
Apart from it being the first time that I have been away far from home, my biggest challenge is that I am the only Muslim in the office. There are lots of new situations for me to deal with, for example, my colleagues are all eating pork. However, they have made me feel very welcome, I do not feel like a volunteer but like a member of staff.
....And your most significant achievement so far in your placement?
I was able to assist in a project that is integrating peace education into teacher training courses. I was assigned to conduct research that was then used in formulating the manual used in the training.
What difference do you think you have made?
It was the first time for ZFD to have a KI volunteer. The staff had many questions about my culture and beliefs; I hope that I have enlightened them. They have shown that they trusted my abilities to make inputs into their work.
Dear friends and supporters,
Our 10 current volunteers are now halfway through their placements. This is the story of one of them
Ms Rohania Bazar is 22 years old and comes from remote town of Magsaysay which has, over the years, suffered from many armed conflicts. Her placement is with BirthDev Inc. a Christian led NGO that offers psycho-social support to victims of conflict and disaster. This is what Rohania had to say about her first few months as a KI volunteers
“It was a big challenge for me working with the Christian community. When I first did my community visits and facilitation, I encountered that most of the participants were not paying attention to me because they saw that I am wearing veil. Due to our cultural differences and concepts, they thought that I was there for a mission to promote Muslim Secessionism. They did not listen to me when I facilitated them. But being a volunteer, it needs deeper understanding, sense of humour and diligence towards individual works. Be more patient and be dedicated to one’s works are qualities that volunteers should have. Over time, a common understanding and respecting one another were being shown during the activities. After several visits and conducting several activities in the respective communities, it became more fruitful and had productive results. People in the communities find me good and nice; and that, one of my participants shared what were their impressions on me on my first day of visits to them. I was surprised when someone said that “being amiable and approachable” is one of my characteristics that I had. I was full of contentment and satisfaction when you see on their faces how they were happy upon being with them and when you are untiringly and willingly supporting them. And that, I can say how lucky I am to be part of their lives - to touch their lives for a positive change.’
Thank you for helping to support young people like Rohania
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Thanks to you
With your help, KI has been able to recruit 10 young Muslim volunteers who are now busy working in the community with their respective Host Partner organizations. The volunteers, consisting of 7 Women and 3 Men, were selected from over 70 applicants in January this year. They then underwent 5 weeks of intensive training during February and March. To mark the beginning of their volunteering experience, a launching ceremony was held in Iligan City on March 14. The event was attended by family members of the volunteers, KI alumni volunteers, Host Partner organizations, KI Board of Trustees, and distinguished guests. The guests of honor were Ms Ria Go-Tian, Project Officer, SGIDU program of the Australian Embassy, Manila and Ms Laura Engel, Civil Peace Service Adviser, GIZ (German Development Service)
What is happening now?
Our volunteers are now sharing their skills and helping deprived communities across Mindanao. The areas of work include: Psycho-Social help for victims of Typhoon “Sendong’ and armed conflict; managing a Sustainable Livelihood program; improving Muslim-Christian relations through reconciliation; Micro-finance and organizing communities in conflict affected areas.
You can find more about our volunteers on our website. We will profile the volunteers and their achievements in our reports over the coming months.
On the night of 16th December 2011, Northern Mindanao was struck by Typhoon Sendong (International name Washi) killing 1,472 people and injuring 1,748. There are also over 1,000 still missing. Iligan City where KI is based, was hit by devastating flash floods which resulted in the deaths of at least 695 people and the destruction of over 5,000 properties and 15,000 more damaged.
KI staff and volunteers immediately began helping with the relief effort. This included packing and distributing relief goods and offering counselling to victims. Many more of our former volunteers are now working with the International Aid Agencies now present to assist in the humanitarian relief effort to the thousands of victims.
The office of KI was also flooded with 7 feet of water resulting in the loss of most of our equipments and vital paperwork. Luckily, some items were able to be rescued by members of staff. Former KI volunteers, some coming from other parts of the country, gave up their vacation time to help clean up the office and then take part in the ongoing relief effort.
KI has now resumed normal operations but as we write, there are still many thousands in evacuation centers and still many bodies unrecovered.
On a happier note. KI has now recruited 10 new volunteers (7 Women and 3 Men) that will form our 7th batch. We had over 70 applicants and through our selection these were whittled down to 24 who underwent an assessment day at the KI Office during late January
These volunteers are currently undergoing their one training which is due to finish at the end of February. They will then commence their placements around the middle of March. Once again, without YOUR vital support our program would not be able to run this year. So thank you.
Dear Friends and Supporters
Be proud of yourselves!
KI is happy to announce, due in no small part to your kindness and generosity, that we are able to start recruiting our 7th batch of volunteers. We have started the recruitment process now and will begin selection and training in January 2012. We aim to have 10 volunteers in their placements, working for peace by March 2012.
KI has also secured partial support for the project from the Australian Government through the Regional Communities Outreach Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. However, this only covers part of our costs and your donations are vital to the continuation of the project. We run a streamlined organization, keeping our operating costs to a bare minimum, so that we can train as many volunteers as possible.
Thank you again for your support
Focus on Fatima
We are very proud of Ms. Fatima Bantao who has been selected as a Global Xchange volunteer. She is the first KI volunteer and first Maranao woman to qualify for the GX program.
Fatima finished her placement as one of our 6th batch of volunteers in August 2011. She is spending 3 months in Bohol, Philippines and then 3 months in Bradford, UK with a group of British and Filipino youth working on community projects. You can find out more about Global Xchange and the progress of Fatima at
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Lanao del Norte