IRISH YOUTH VOLUNTEERS IMMERSE IN BADJAO COMMUNITY



[PHOTO - Miles away from their country, SERVE volunteers have never felt most at home as they spend their time helping construct housing quads for the Bajaus in Alaska Mambaling, Cebu City.]

CEBU CITY, OCTOBER 22, 2012 (INQUIRER) Cebu Daily News - Irish youth volunteers visited Cebu recently and stayed with the Badjao community in sitio Puntod, barangay Alaska-Mambaling, Cebu City.

During their three-week immersion program with the Badjaos, the 13 Irish youth, accompanied by three adult leaders from the group SERVE, a community service organization based in Ireland, assisted in the fabrication of inter-locking compressed earth blocks for the housing walls and in holding classes for preschoolers and the feeding program.

They also shared their country’s culture through sports and other interactive activities.

“I find the first day in the Badjao community the highlight of our entire five-week stay in the Philippines. The children warmly welcomed us with smiles. The short program that was organized in the school for us that day was incredible,” said a woman Irish volunteer.

“We couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful, and we are so grateful. The heartfelt welcome given to us during our immersion program last August will be always treasured in our hearts,” she added.

SERVE focuses on programs and projects that help marginalized communities in developing countries, including the Badjao community, which is under the care of the Bajau Integrated Area Development Project (BIAD-P) of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.

BIAD-P is currently building 33 more houses to provide the poor Badjao families better settlements. The project is in collaboration with the Cebu City government, Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the University of San Carlos.

EARLIER REPORT FROM RAFI.ORG.PH

Irish youth immerses with Bajaus Monday, September 17, 2012


[PHOTO- SERVE volunteers teach and play with children during their three-week immersion in the Bajau community in Sitio Pungtod, Alaska Mambaling, Cebu.]

Youth volunteers of SERVE, a community service organization based in Ireland, came recently to Cebu and stayed for three weeks in the Bajau community under the care of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.’s (RAFI) Bajau Integrated Area Development Project (BIAD-P) in Sitio Puntod, Alaska Mambaling, Cebu City.

During their immersion, SERVE’s three Irish adult leaders and 13 youth assisted in the fabrication of ICEB bricks for the housing quads and in holding classes for preschoolers and the feeding program.

They also shared part of their country’s culture through sports and other interactive activities.

“I find the first day in the Bajau community the highlight of our entire five-week stay in the Philippines. The children warmly welcomed us with smiles. The short program that was organized in the school for us that day was incredible,” Majella, a SERVE volunteer, shared.

“We couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful, and we are so grateful. The heartfelt welcome given to us every day will be always treasured in our hearts,” she added.

SERVE focuses on programs and projects that help marginalized communities in developing countries. It aims to empower children and the youth and recognizes that gender equality is essential to sustainable development. It has 15 partner countries around the world that receive support in terms of funding for development projects or programs, placement of short-term and long-term volunteers, capacity building in the areas of management, finances and accounting, monitoring and evaluation, and child protection.

At present BIAD-P has already started building 33 more housing quads for the Bajau community.

This project component intends to provide better settlements to poor Bajau families. This is anchored to its vision towards making Bajau a self-sufficient, progressive and self-reliant community with sense of pride and belongingness.

This project component was made possible through close collaboration with the Cebu City Government, Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary and University of San Carlos.

This project continues to employ strategies towards transformational development and empowerment of Bajaus. It continues to address and mitigate the effects of poverty such as providing decent housing, parenting support, education programs, assisting families in obtaining health and nutrition information, and supplementary feeding programs. These interventions give young children a chance to build the resiliency and competence they need to break the detrimental cycle of poverty.

BIAD-P was organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, together with the Cebu City Government and the University of San Carlos-College of Architecture and Fine Arts, last January 2011.

BIAD-P is under the Integrated Development focus area of RAFI, helping communities overcome the vicious cycle of poverty. RAFI’s other focus areas include Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship, Culture & Heritage, Leadership & Citizenship, and Education.

For more information about BIAD-P, please contact (032) 418-7234 loc. 515 and look for Anthony Fuentes, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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