Almost 30 out-of-school youth developed and implemented projects in different areas in Zamboanga City, addressing selected issues and problems of the target community as part of their 6-month curriculum under SUGPAT’s Alternative School for Peacebuilding the Arts (ALSPA).
The SUGPAT-ALSPA fellows were grouped into five, and the groups identified concerns and problems in the community that they want to address. The groups would do three waves of community projects.
Initial project implementation
From the issues and problems in the community the fellows identified, they then organized and implemented their first wave of community projects.
One group went to Barangay Talon-Talon to give a talk about Child’s Rights and Child Abuse as part of “Storytelling About Child Abuse”. They gathered 77 participants which includes children, together with their guardians.
They educated the children of Talon-Talon and their guardians on the implications of child’s rights and the kinds of abuse children may suffer. Part of their group’s talk was about how to properly protect our children from those kinds of abuses, and what they can do when a child is abused.
A clean-up drive in Barangay Sta. Catalina called “SUGPAT Linis Project” was the initial project of one group of fellows. The group partnered with the Sangguniang Kabataan officials to identify the areas where there are children who may be vulnerable to diseases and infections brought by their dirty surroundings.
Another group went to Barangay Tetuan and gathered out-of-school youth in the area to share what they have learned in the SUGPAT Program through “Bumangon at Umahon para sa Kabataan” The 22 OSYs were engaged in activities facilitated and organized by the fellows. SUGPAT ALSPA Fellow David Cose, the leader of the group, said he wanted to share to their fellow out-of-school youth the learning they got from their classes in SUGPAT.
“I want to inspire my fellow OSY that they can achieve more than what they can think of. Hopefully this would help them in some way,” Cose said.
Moreover, one of the fifth group’s members, Julius Hasandalan who lives in Barangay Bolong, noticed that children in his community are usually barefoot. So the group organized “SUGPAT Handog Tsinelas,” a Kids’ Fun Day composed of games and activities for the children of Barangay Bolong which culminated with a give-away of slippers for the children.
Second wave of community project implementation
After the first wave of the projects, the SUGPAT ALSPA Fellows geared up once again for their second wave of community projects.
Two of the five community projects were implemented during KAMP KAYA’s volunteerism day, where all 45 campers immersed themselves in the community to participate in the community project of our ALSPA fellows.
One of the projects was “Oplan B.A.S.U.R.A (Basura Ay kailangang Solusyonan Upang Ramdan Ang Magandang Kinabukasan)” where the ALSPA fellows, together with Kamp Kaya campers, went to Barangay Kasanyangan where they had a clean-up drive, followed by a planting activity.
David Cose, a member of the group said that the reason why they chose to address the issue of trash and waste was because they conducted a survey in the community and the most pressing issue was the trash around the community.
He added: “Nakita namin yung mga basura na nakakalat kalat lang, especially yung mga PET bottles. Kaya naisipan namin itong gawan ng solusyon.”
The group used PET Bottles in the seed planting activity. David said that the PET Bottles bothered them so it was a challenge for them to think of what to do with the plastic bottles and it made them resourceful and creative in approaching the problem.
The other project implemented during Kamp Kaya was “Kabataan, Umiwas sa Droga”, a project in Barangay Camino Nuevo that invited 25 out-of-school youth to attend a talk that aims to give awareness and educate the participants about the risks and effects of illegal drugs.
Furthermore, one of the five groups of ALSPA Fellows wanted to address the issue of smoking among children. Almalyn Asta, a member of the group, noticed that there were a lot of children aged 10-16 years old in Barangay Cawit who smoked.
Their project entitled “Children’s Health” aims to divert these young smokers attention to sports. Group leader Joshua Labra said: “Gusto naming silang i-engage sa sports para matigil yung pagsisigarilyo nila. Karamihan sa mga bata ay naninigarilyo na, at ang number one option na naisip namin para tumigil sila ay through sports.”
They invited a doctor and an athlete to talk about the risks of smoking and the bad effects it has on one’s health. The speakers also encouraged the 26 participants to engage themselves in sports instead.
One group developed a “Kakulangan sa kaalaman ng tamang nutrisyon sa mga Batang nasa
Edad 18 pababa ng Brgy. Boalan” that aims to promote proper nutrition for the whole family. This group gathered three families from Barangay Boalan that consists of 5-8 family members. The fellows educated the families about healthy living which includes proper nutrition and exercise. The group provided the families with a dietary plan or a food menu that is affordable, healthy, and sustainable for the families.
Another group has yet to implement their project on HIV Awareness. Jayrel Farole, a member of the group, said they wanted to be advocates of HIV awareness because the cases of HIV are increasing among the youth here in Zamboanga City.
“Masaya ako at proud na nakakapag implement kami ng mga activity para sa community, gusto rin kasi naming ma-experience nila kung ano yung naeexperience namin sa SUGPAT,” Jayrel said.
For the second wave of projects, SUGPAT brought in coaches to guide and mentor the fellows in their project implementation. SUGPAT tapped student leaders and staff of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University to serve as the project coaches: Alexandra Wee, Amir Napii, Shareen Hayudini, Sitti Fatima Chua, and Yarah Musa.
Sitti Fatima Chua, one of the coaches of the ALSPA fellows, said that the experience of being the fellows’ coach is humbling because she sees them grow as a person and as a leader. Sitti said she learned from the experiences of the fellows and she understood their perspectives better.
“Promising itong mga batang to. Marami silang pwede gawin for themselves and for their community basta mabigyan lang ng opportunity to do so. Sana maraming din organizations or groups out there na willing mag bigay ng opportunities sa mga OSY natin. Invest tayo sa kanila,” she continued, “In return, may mapaglalagyan din ang investment ng mga bata, may it be back to the org or their chosen community.”
Final wave of community projects
The ALSPA fellows will once again prepare for their third and final community project.
The fellows will be pitching their project proposal on January 22 which will be their capstone project serving as their final output in the Alternative School for Peace-building and the Arts. The fellows will be graduating from the program on February 28.