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SIBOL Project and The Children of Don Manuel GK Village

Orquidia Valenzuela Flores
The Netherlands
November 14, 2009

Con Amor Foundation Rescues SIBOL

This school year, 49 children, ages four to six years avail of free pre-elementary education through the SIBOL Child and Development Program of Gawad Kalinga. The children come from very poor families of GK Don Manuel village in Balingasa, Quezon City.

Pre education training is required before a child can enter formal elementary education. SIBOL program relies only on the support of benefactors.

The Devastations of Typhoon Ondoy

The recent typhoon brought more misery and sufferings to the impoverish families in Don Manuel village and the school.

A SIBOL report states that quite a number of residents and children in the village are suffering from flu, respiratory infections, skin diseases, diarrhea and leptospirosis. It is said that leptospirosis is a water-borne infection transmitted by the urine of an infected animal and is contagious when it is still moist. Rats, mice, dogs, can carry and transmit the disease to humans. Debris of furniture, appliances, etc. and carcass of animals were floating in the flood during the last two typhoons.

The following photographs show how Ondoy has destroyed the site of GK Don Manuel.
A file photo of the multipurpose hall in 2004.
During Ondoy’s wrath the hall was submerged in two feet-deep water. The 3rd floor where SIBOL is located was also damaged for it was converted into a refugee camp during the flood.
A file photo of the creek and bridge in 2004.
Ondoy damaged the steel railings because big piles of heavy garbage carried by the river and rammed against the screen and railings of the bridge and the playground area. This put great risk to children who are playing in the area.

Houses near the creek were submerged in 2 ½ meters of water. The ground and first floors of Calalay Hall in Don Manuel were also flooded. The third floor of the building being used by SIBOL as a classroom provided shelter to the families who lost their homes or whose homes were submerged in water. The few personal belongings and furniture of families were either damaged or carried away by the ravaging water.

SIBOL school was badly damaged by the water, its floors warped and the school desks and tables cannot be used anymore, kaput.

After the calamity more parents cannot provide their children with their basic needs. Last year, there were already children attending school without breakfast. One family can consider itself lucky if a member finds work for a few weeks or months or earn 200 pesos a night from selling balut or can peddle the kitchen and handtowels sewn by the wife or grandmother. With the economic state of the country going from bad to worse, the people in Don Manuel feel the pinch even more.

Con Amor Foundation Rescues SIBOL

The writer appealed for help, showing the report on the destruction that the typhoon brought to SIBOL school and the immediate needs of the children to her long-time friend Myrla Danao Barten. The former lost no time in including her appeal in the agenda of the meeting of the board of Stichting (Foundation) Con Amor in the province of Utrecht.
Mr and Mrs Jongerius Dutch Couple Donates to Sibol
Orquidia Valenzuela Introduces Sibol Project to the Zaandam Filipino Church Group
Zaandam Filipino Church Group Bingo Fundraising for Sibol
Zaandam Filipino Church Group Couple Jessie and Cathy Manaog Malabanan and Children
Zaandam Filipino Church Group Steyl Streams

Con Amor’s response was a donation for the immediate rehabilitation and improvement of the school and urgent health care and needs of the children.

It has been recommended long before the typhoon hit the Philippines to relocate the makeshift classroom because it is congested; the windows are wide open and its doors are too old to be repaired. The children and teachers have no cabinet where they can put their things and school materials. The good news is that the children finally got rid of the old bucket, a lavatory has been installed in the makeshift classroom.

After the typhoon the classroom needs repainting and repairs but it would be better to look for a more suitable site for a classroom.

When there is heavy rain the nearby creek overflows. And the place is always wet. As a precautionary measure, rubber boots and raincoats are being purchased for the pupils in SIBOL. If medicines and remedies cannot be supplied by the health authorities, the problem should be given serious consideration.

There is an urgent need to supplement the diet of the children in SIBOL. Once a week, healthy meal is supplied through the feeding program of St.Theresa’s class of ’70 in Quezon City. But there is no certainty if the sponsor can sustain the program next school year.

Also, for health reason, the children have to be protected from the elements. Their parents cannot afford to clothe them. In fact, a number of those who attend SIBOL are orphans. Many homes in Don Manuel do not have electricity, not even fuel to cook the food.

Teachers’ Salaries Come from the Netherlands

In March last year there was apprehension that SIBOL program may have to be discontinued because the main benefactor withdrew from his commitment due to unforeseen circumstances. There was no fund for the two teachers’ salaries.
Cathy Manaog Chats with Children
Cathy Manaog Distributes Merienda to the Children
Children of Don Manuel Gk Village
Children of Don Manuel Gk Village

A member of St.Theresa’s foundation invited her vacationing Pinay friend to visit Don Manuel village and the SIBOL classroom. In a small area GK was able to built houses for 76 of the poorest families. The village can only be reached through a narrow passage. Not even a mini car can get into the village.

The vacationista was impressed by the dedication shown by the two teachers who despite the lack of facilities and absence of fundamental educational materials perform their work efficiently. They attend workshops, seminars and lectures regularly to upgrade their skills. The teachers handle two classes.
Children of Don Manuel Gk Village
Cindy Valenzuela of St Theresa Class 70- Qc Acknowledges Donation from Zaandam Filipino Church Group
Group Photo with Sibol Volunteers Teachers and Chris Dicioco OIC Sibol Gk Don Manuel Village
New Toilet for the Children of GK Village

She talked to the children, the teachers and their parents who render volunteer service. She was taken to the homes of the children and she listened as their families narrated how they cope up with day to day life

When she returned home she pledged her family’s contribution to the teachers’ salaries, at least for the school year 2009-2010. She solicited help from friends so the program can continue. The first to respond were two Dutch couples from Utrecht province. The Filipino church group in Zaandam led by Cathy M. Manaog also promised to finance the teachers’ salaries. A Filipina friend in Brussels, Belgium, upon being told of the SIBOL project simply handed in her generous contribution.

The benefactors to the teachers’ salaries of SIBOL and Stichting Con Amor for the immediate repairs/improvements of SIBOL classroom and for the children’s urgent needs, are all based in the Netherlands. The contributions for the teachers’ salaries and Stichting Con Amor are coursed through the secretary of St. Theresa’s Class ’70, Q.C. Foundation. The secretary is issued receipt by the SIBOL teachers themselves when they receive their monthly salaries. The responsible persons in SIBOL will also report to Con Amor on the work done. 

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