UIC pupils sort out reading materials which they later donated to their counterparts (next photo) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
University of the Immaculate Conception (UIC), Davao City – WHAT a beautiful world it is when people see children helping other kids, more so if the recipients are children in depressed and conflict affected areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Mary Jill Ira Banta did not hesitate to give her books and other reading materials upon knowing that poor children in the conflict-affected areas in ARMM would be using them. As Graders Action Board President for UIC’s Grade school pupils, she joyfully handed down their collection of assorted books and magazines in a simple turn-over ceremony at their campus in Bajada, Davao City.
“ I am happy and glad that I can give; that I can be a part of their success. Books are bridge to success”, Mary Jill Ira said. “ I hope they will use the books so that when they grow up, they can learn to read and write and become professionals someday”, she added.
With excitement etched on his face, Daniel Lorenzo Operario gladly joined Mary Jill Ira in turning over their collection of books and magazines. As the Graders Action Board Vice President, he led their group and that of the lower grades in handing over assorted books and reading materials that children in the ARMM could use.
“ I hope they will take care of the books because they can learn a lot from them. I want to tell them not to lose hope because people are willing to help, and that the difficulties they are experiencing are just trials”, Daniel said. “ There is hope because help will come from people and God will not forget them”, he added.
The book drive at the grade school campus of the UIC aims to assist school children in some selected public schools of ARMM gain access to quality basic education by addressing textbooks to student ratio. While the national pupil to text book ratio is 1:4 (elementary), figures in ARMM is unclear.
Recurring conflict in some areas of ARMM also affects student’s performance in school. With the little help from the UIC’s grade school, others would be encouraged to do their share. “We hope to sustain this project as part of UIC’s Community Extension Program”, Ms. Norma Garrao said.
This is the first time that UIC and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in Mindanao engaged in such education-focused project. ARMM is a priority area where PBSP implements projects focusing on education and other poverty-reduction initiatives. (Danny Escabarte/PBSP)