Monday, August 17, 2009


Friends, here's a letter my daughter Arizza Ann Nocum, a third year student of the Philippine Scince High School, wrote to Ms Asinas, the angel who linked us up with caring friends from Australia.

Good day, Ms. Asinas!

My name is Arizza, and I am the daughter of Armand Nocum—the man who put up the A-Book-Saya group.

In behalf of him, I would like to extend my gratitude for the books you have given us.

I have just seen the Perth-Manila Book Project blog, and, personally, I congratulate you for having such an impactful campaign. Shaping civil society through books sounds like it requires utmost dedication; but I see that you have been truly successful with the assistance and support of service-oriented individuals from Manila and Perth.

Seeing what your campaign is achieving now, I am sure that you know the value of books, out of all people.

I am 14 years old; and eight or so years ago, the first Harry Potter book came out. My dad bought me the book in order to introduce me to the wonderful world of children’s fiction. True enough, I became engulfed in a world I never thought had existed; but I did not only learn that words and sentences could offer so much to my imagination, I also learned some principles, like how much the youth can do in the name of bravery and selflessness.

If that much can be learned from a single book, you can imagine the positive impact dozens of the books you have donated could make on a child.

Furthermore: with every book you gave us that a child may one day open, we issue a message of thanks. With the possibility that one of the many children who visit our library may someday turn to a principled world of science or math—that he did not know existed—instead of the world of war that right in front of his eyes, you understand that we are indebted to your support for helping us realize our goal.

Last April 6, you may have heard that we celebrated the soft opening of the Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library (KRIS). It was such a delight to see the multitude of Christian and Muslim children at the library that day. They were eagerly checking out the books and tinkering with the computers—in fact, some of them claim to have used a computer for the first time.

In order to sustain that many children in our library the whole summer, we decided to facilitate computer lessons which 120 children have signed up for already. In addition, we promised scholarship grants to 50 children who will be visiting the library at least 25 times. Specifically, we will only be paying for the enrolment fee which is about P500. For those kids who visit less frequently, we will be rewarding them with school materials and older books.

However, about a hundred have promised to visit frequently to get the grant, and we really are in need of assistance.

That is why, in conclusion, we thank you again so much for the books you have given and are planning to give.

May we someday see our efforts into fruition! God Bless, Ms. Asinas!

Arizza 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saving Mindanao Kids From the Jaws of Terrorism and Criminality

Dear friends, here’s a letter I recently wrote to our friends at the Rotary Club of Pasig. I hope you would find it helpful in getting updates re our advocacy to save the Mindanao children from the jaws of crime and terrorism.

Rafael Garcia (c/o Ducky Paredes)
Executive Vice President and COO
Mega Group of Companies

Assalamo Alaikum!

The recent Cotabato church bombing is only one of the many reports of atrocities by leftist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf and MNLF. Kidnappings, massacres, beheadings, and even the recruitment of child soldiers as young as 7 have also been widely broadcasted in the news.

While the government is trying to solve this problem by sending the military, we, the A-Book-Saya Group (ABSG) have decided not to fight guns with guns, but to fight guns with books in order to save Mindanao and its children from the effects of warfare and crime.

Since 2008, we have been active in soliciting books and giving them to needy Christian and Muslim children in Mindanao with hopes that when they are made to choose to pick up the life of banditry and terrorism their fathers have had, they will instead turn away from it and choose a life of peace and profession.

In order to further our campaign, the Kristiyano-Islam (KRIS) Peace Library was built in Barangay Manicahan, Zamboanga City. Since its opening on April 6, the KRIS Library has been the center of activity in its area.

Particularly, during the summer, an average of almost a hundred children from near and far poured in to spend their time more productively by reading books and learning about the computer day by day.

Our offered programs have been very successful as well: 120 kids are now skilled in the use of the computer with the facilitation of the free computer lessons; and 60 kids are now proud scholars of the KRIS library they visited frequently during the summer.

However, the advent of the school year has magnified the needs of our library. More kids have been visiting to attend to their assignments and research works, and it is a must to keep the library in its top shape.

Even amidst the value of the books we keep in the library; it is unavoidable for some of the pages to get damaged due to frequent use by the children. Recommendations for a Xerox machine have been made but, right now, we lack the resources for this type of expensive machine.

The problem of lack of sanitation is also evident because the proposed comfort room in the first floor has not been constructed due to lack of funds. Without a proper comfort room, the kids have been using the bamboo trees behind the library to do their business.

The second floor which will contain the sleeping quarters for visiting volunteers and teachers, a comfort room for them, and a seminar area—the venue for livelihood projects for the poverty-stricken parents of the children—is also yet to be completed.

With all this in mind, we ask for your generosity so that we may be able to improve our facilities. Help us save these children from a life of poverty and war. Help us help them uplift education; help us help them become doctors, lawyers and engineers in the future.

Dear friend, we hope for your kindness in any way. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated by these war-torn children. Your wholeheartedness, in any form, will make us indebted to you.

May God bless you!