Sunday, November 2, 2008
A-Book-Saya Brings Smile to Abu Sayyaf Kids
Here's the press release I wrote after distributing our first set of books in Zamboanga City. It feels great to bring smile to children whose fathers we always condemn but seldom understand. Read on and please open up your hearts to peace and understanding. I would like to thank our friends at the Malaya newspaper who published the story today.
Abu Sayyaf Kids Happy to Receive 593 Books from Metro Manila Folks
Some 400 Muslim elementary school students – many believed to be children of the Abu Sayyaf Group – received 593 books, magazines and a set of encyclopedias donated by people in Metro Manila through the A-Book-Saya Group (ASG) book-donation project last October 28.
Masabiha Jumaani – a Muslim teacher at the all-Muslim Manicahan Poblacion Elementary School – thanked the book-donors in Metro Manila for having the heart to look into the plight of the mostly poor students.
“We’ve thought all along that our brethren in Metro Manila have forgotten us. These books dispel that wrong perception. Thank you for bridging the distance to tell us that our brothers and sisters in Metro Manila do care for Muslims in far Zamboanga,” said Jumaani during a short program.
Annora Sahi Nocum, who led the book-giving, told the parents of the students that the ASG project is primarily aimed at showing Muslims that there is a peaceful way out of poverty and that their fellow Filipinos all over the country are willing to help them take the path of peace.
“Like many in Metro Manila, we used to merely complain and roll up our eyes when we hear the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF making trouble again. But we realized that the feeling of neglect is partly fuelling discontent among us Muslims; so we have tapped the generosity of good-hearted Christians in Metro Manila to show that we are here for you if you choose to pick books over guns,” said Annora, a Tausug Muslim.
Annora, who started the ASG project with Christian husband Armand, said they have decided to take the initiative of “flooding” Mindanao with books since merely complaining about the insurgency and terrorism problem in Mindanao will not solve it.
The Christian-Muslim couple chose the Manicahan Poblacion School because the area is fast becoming notorious as the place where the Abu Sayyaf keeps kidnap victims. Manicahan, which is located 24 kilometers east of the city proper, is also the ASG’s jump-off point to their lair in nearby Sacol Island.
While thankful for the books, School Principal Juliet M. Besas said that she hopes that people here would also help them get new schoolrooms, toilets, desks and chairs and help fill up the library they don’t have.
The Nocums promised to return soon with more books, used clothes, school supplies, medicines and other stuff to make the Muslim folks of Manicahan feel less detached and neglected by the government and the people in Metro Manila.
Those wishing to support the ASG book-donation project could drop off their books and other donations at the Satti Grill House outlets at SM-Fairview Food Court, Quezon City; and at M.H. del Pilar Corner Padre Faura, Manila. Donors may call the Nocums at Contact Nos. 3393732, 7992745, 09195897879 and 09175208013. Donors may also log in at www.sattisfaction.blogspot.com.