One wet Saturday last March, Resque Abra, was one of a group of fifteen young people made up of KI 6th Batch volunteers and some members of an Interfaith volunteering group LYPAD-Min who journeyed to Barangay Putadon, a small remote community of the municipality of Nunungan, Lanao del Norte, to conduct their outreach program targeting less fortunate children. The program aimed to reach out to more than 300 deprived children with a feeding program and to teach them and their parents about personal hygiene and environmental sanitation. Barangay Putadon was chosen as it is a very remote place, journeys are by truck and are only three times a week.
Resque, a graduate in International Relations, began his placement with the Municipality of Nunungan in September 2010. In his role as a project assistant, he helps the local Government in developing Nunungan as a model municipality. This involves projects on Bio- Energy, Alternative Livelihood, Good Governance and Eco-Tourism. Resque liaised with the Mayor and his co-volunteers, making most of the arrangements for this activity; the events program, transportation, accommodation and food.
The travel to Putadon was very challenging. After a three and a half hour journey to the municipality of Lala, it took another three hours via a one-way rocky and bumpy mountain road in a 6x6 army truck. On the way, the truck got a flat tire and the heavy rain made the road nearly impassable. Finally they reached there after 6 and a half hours. The group then stayed overnight in Putadon, in order to prepare for the activity the next day.
The community was so accommodating and they voluntarily helped in preparing the whole event. The first activities with the children were lots of group games including a spelling contest. Then there was singing and dancing in connection to theme of hygiene awareness e.g. “sampong mga karapatan” which is a song that talks about the ten rights of a child. The highlight of the program was the distribution of personal hygiene kits for over 300 children. This brought big smiles to the children and their parents since it was their first time to experience such an activity due to the difficulty in access to the community. Resque commented “Its only the KI volunteers who dare to take hold of the challenge to reach the place. The children were really blissful and feel some specialty that day because of making them feed, play and imparted knowledge they can use on their daily lives”.
Everybody also enjoyed the feeding activity (a salo-salo, ‘eating together’) which was held in a ‘boodle fight’ style lunch (a military style of eating where foods are on top of the banana leaves lined on a long mat) . The Mayor, Hon. Atty. Abdul Malik Manamparan remarked “thank you KI volunteers for reaching my place, to conduct your program here, you are all very much welcome, it will be a big help to a lot of children here in Nunungan. We are happy to see youths like you who are concerned about the children”
After the program, Resque reflected “through my volunteering, I have learned that the achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. You can help a child to learn, smile and be fed”.
The activity was held with the support of Kapamagogopa Incorporated and Australian Government through Australian Embassy, and in coordination with LGU-Nunungan and Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology: Department of Extension