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!

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