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National Children’s Month
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09 November 2016 National Children’s Month

Written by: Danica Pacardo

As we join in the celebration of the National Children’s Month, we put the spotlight on one of our Volunteers for Information and Development Assistance (VIDAs), Mr. Enrique Alimbon, who has done his share in making this world a better place for indigenous children.

As a Lumad himself, he has been exposed to the struggles experienced by members of his tribe. Enrique’s volunteerism was fueled by his passion to improve their lives. “I was motivated because in this way I was able to help my co-IPs on their early education and to have access to their right to education.”

As a teacher, he knows how practicing his profession can help empower his fellow Lumads, especially their younger generation. He was assigned in the Luyong Community Learning Center, as part of the early child care and development project of SILDAP Southeastern Mindanao, Inc. The center is located in Brgy. Luyong, Boston, a remote community whose majority of residents did not finish primary school, due to the absence of a school within the vicinity.

Enrique conducted kindergarten classes for Lumad and Dibabawon children, following the framework on IP education which aims to contribute to the development of psychomotor, affective, and cognitive skills of the young IP learners. He is proud to take an active role in fulfilling their tribe’s right to education. “My major accomplishment as a volunteer was being part of the initiative to provide access to quality education that would make them better and more productive members of the community.”

Apart of teaching, he also participated in the conduct of weekly supplementary feeding for the children and closely monitored their physical development. He also strengthened his relationship with the parents through regular meetings and home visits during weekends, treating them as partners in the children’s learning. He has expressed his commitment to motivate his fellow Lumads in the community to uplift their economic condition, so they can support the education of their children.

In the process of helping the community, Enrique learned more about himself. "I ‘ve known my strength and limitations. It gave me freedom and made me flexible. I felt fulfilled when I saw children obey me. I felt worthy as a human being.”

He also recognized the importance of collaborating with key stakeholders in any development initiative. “As a community volunteer, I had a strong relationship with my local organization, local counterparts and beneficiaries. We share the mission of helping IP communities claim their rights and to closely work for the fulfillment of their dreams for their children and future generation,” he says.

Volunteers like Enrique create significant impact in the lives of marginalized children in ways that can last a lifetime. This month, we express our gratitude for individuals and groups who share a piece of themselves to ensure a better future for children.

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