Thursday, April 16, 2009


Dearest Friends of Kris,

We are back in Manila and happy that we have all fulfilled our collective desire to do something for hundreds of poor kids in Mindanao.

Last April 6, we celebrated the soft-opening of the Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library or Kris. About 300 teachers led by the local school superintendent, three school principals, the barangay council; and children and their parents attended the opening ceremonies.

Kris was doubly-blessed because we got both a Catholic priest and an Imam to bless the occasion. javascript:void(0)From apprehensions that there will be few kids showing interests in books, we now have the beautiful problem of how to accommodate the big number of kids who visit the half-completed Kris Peace library regularly.

To ensure that our library will have meaning and significance to the lives of poor kids, we have offered to give basic computer lessons and as of today, about 120 kids have already registered to take the lessons.

To ensure that they do go and read in the library this summer, we also promised to give scholarship to 50 elementary and high school kids who will visit the library for at least 25 times this summer. The idea is to inculcate in them the habit of going to the library regularly and for them to embrace Kris as a place not only of knowledge but fun and games.

However, as of today, about 200 kids have already signified their intentions to visit the library daily, egged on by parents who worry that they while away their summer vacation riding carabaos, watching television, swimming in rivers and seas; or getting into drugs. For Muslim mothers, there are fears the older males in the family will teach their kids the quick way of making money in these parts – banditry and kidnappings (this usually result in their kids being unwilling to return to school anymore, thinking guns are the only tools they need to survive.

Also, we put up a program where those who go to the library for lesser days will get some of the used books you gave us, school supplies and other education materials.

While there, we saw signs of hope to remind us that we are on the right track in what were doing. We learned, for example, that in the local public school, three Muslim kids have graduated as class valedictorians for several years now. This shows that given the support from us who have something to give, we can really make the difference of transforming the lives of poor Muslims and stopping the rise of kidnappings and banditry.

In this light, we appeal for your continued help for us to complete the second floor of the library where we’ll hold livelihood training seminars; toilets for boys and girls; and sleeping quarters for teacher-volunteers who come from nearby islands.

We’ll also welcome your help in giving us school supplies and footing the bill for some of the scholars so we can increase the beneficiaries to about 100 (we’ll only shoulder the enrolment cost of about P500 per students).

We hope you’ll never get tired of helping us. As it is, we’re already so much grateful for all your help.

Armand & Ann Nocum
Kris Peace Library

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