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The future of MIMAROPA looks very promising because of the commitment to active citizenship of young people of the region.

 The Thirteenth Search for the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO 13) is described as bigger, bolder and better. Improvements and innovations were introduced in the latest edition of this annual search for exemplary achievements of youth groups around the country. Organized by the National Youth Commission, TAYO Foundation, Coca-Cola, and the Office of Senator Bam Aquino, this year’s search has received a record number of 362 entries from across the nation.

 MIMAROPA Young Achievers

 The TAYO awards recognizes outstanding youth-led programs and projects that seek to provide solutions to problems, respond to concerns, and make things better for their communities. MIMAROPA is ably represented by six entries all from the province of Oriental Mindoro. Their entries cover a wide range of outreach programs to the poor and marginalized. The entries are:

 

Organization Project Category

 Area

BACO Community College / Public Administration Dept Community Extension Service (CES) Culture, Arts, Peace and Development Baco, Oriental Mindoro
Marine Aquaculture Processing Society (MAPS) – Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology (MinsCAT) Fishery Extension Service Livelihood and Entrepreneurship MinsCAT, Bongabong Campus, Oriental Mindoro
Better Educator for Students today Better Educators for Students today Extension Program Education and Technology Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro
Hoteliers Department Feeding Program para sa Batang si Juan Health and Well-being Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro
College Student Council Isang Lapis, ISang Papel Para Kay Juan (ILIP para kay juan) Education and Technology Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro
Keep Hope Alive (KHA) Fight4Five Health and Well-being Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro

 

Feather on MIMAROPA’s Cap

It is an understatement to say that this year’s search is tough with so many amazing youth initiatives from around the country. But the region rose to the occasion with the selection of Keep Hope Alive of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro as one of this year’s winners. Their project entitled Fight 4 Five is one of the two winners in the Health and Well-being category.

Here is their inspiring story.

Marginalized and geographically isolated, children of most families in remote Mangyan communities in Oriental Mindoro are not able to attend classes on a regular basis.   Families of these children have difficulty in accessing basic medical services and nutrition.  Presence of armed group in the area further complicates the situation and isolates them.  

The tough topography and threat to safety and security make the delivery of services to these Mangyan communities difficult.  Keep Hope Alive, a group of youth volunteers took on the arduous challenge of crossing rivers and climbing mountains on foot for up to 9 hours on a good day to reach out to these communities.  This group, through their project Fight4Five, helps children and their families who are living in poverty to be educated and healthy.  

Fight4Five addresses the needs of community members by focusing on five thematic areas: 1) healthy teeth and body, 2) access to quality education, 3) environmental awareness, 4) youth and community empowerment, and 5) cultural preservation.  Youth volunteers are in charge of the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of five different but interrelated thematic programs in the community.

For 3 days, volunteers conduct mobile classes for interactive learning programs on reading, writing and environmental awareness to children and adult.  Volunteer health practitioners participate and assist in medical missions.   They also teach sanitation and hygiene and educate communities on good nutrition and prevention of outbreaks.    A vital component of the project is to persuade the Mangyan tribe to have deeper appreciation of their rich culture and heritage and their identity.  Through cultural presentations, the communities are encouraged to be comfortable in sharing their practices, tradition and beliefs.

Essential to the health and well-being of a community is a functional health center.  It is the front line in giving medical advice and basic first aid to residents.  When the organization first arrived in some of the remote communities, the group found difficulty in providing simple health care due to the lack of infrastructure.   Since their beginning in 2012, Keep Hope Alive was able to assist adopted communities in building health center with the resourceful use of indigenous building materials and design and by involving the community on its construction.

Vital to the success of the project are the program coordinators in the adoptive community. They are also volunteers that share the same background as the beneficiaries.    Being from the same Mangyan communities they serve, they are familiar with the terrain and can provide guidance to other volunteers on the proper behavior not to offend Mangyan sensitivities.  As project coordinators, they undergo capacity building training on basic first aid and health care including measurement of vital signs like blood pressure, heart and pulse rate, and body temperature to serve as primary health care providers in the community health center.

In 2015, Keep Hope Alive conducted 20 visits to different adopted remote Mangyan communities in Oriental Mindoro. 

Last January 21, 2016, the organization was recognized in the awarding ceremonies in Malacañan, a testament to the passion and commitment to serve of young MIMAROPAns.

By: Asec. Percival Cendaña, NYC

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