Last year, with a call for help from a youth group in Sulu, we started the #SULOngSULU project. This is a citizen action drive in aiding the needs of our students in the Sulu area. Thus far, this circle of a few travelling friends have attended to a renovation of a primary school, distribution of school supplies, and sending a few more lab materials for a chemistrylaboratory.
This year around, I am travelling around Indonesia, but I did not want my proximity to deter me from contributing to the progress of my country. Before leaving, I had a word with these friends and asked if we can go ahead with little things like this, and I am glad they were feeling the kind of fullfilment I get when I see something done.
Apart from these friends, social networks has helped bring our advocacy to other people. There was Wina Asuncion who set up a benefit concert , Mara Balayan who did a Hand Lettering workshop, Maria Isabel Bernal of GivingIzReceiving who sold T-shirts to fund a planned Alternative classroom for theBadjaos, and also accounting firm SGV (through Mr Christian Lauron) who shared in time for the company's anniversary.
Overall, these activities and solicitations came up with P65,147 cash, and around estimated P28,000 worth of school supplies.
We were able to furnish 500 bags with 1 box of crayons, 4 pencils/ballspens, 1 sharpener, 1 eraser, 1 ruler, 2 pad papers, 3 notebooks. Some supplies were in excess so some bags got 5 notebooks, 3 pads, and scissors.
Other materials such as envelopes, art papers, bodpapers, tapes, ledgers, yellow pads, lesson plans were provided for the teachers.
Around 428 students in 6 primary schools received bags. 82 bags on the other hand went to Brgy Sila Elementary School, in San Vicente Northern Samar.
The 500 bags were packed complete initially, and because of logistics concern with the AFP Civil Relations Group keeping us in the limbo of whether we will be able to deliver or not, we thought about holding any further purchasing of additional bags and school supplies for more students as we may end up overstocked with goods, not to mention we have almost filled up our friends apartment with donations.
Meanwhile, we had excess funds, so we thought about sharing it to other areas who may need it, and is easier to deliver. There has been excess funds beyond the planned distribution target, so we thought about giving them out to others in need.
The planned distribution was to be 3rd week April, but PAF C130 flights to SULU have been held specifically for election related matters, apart from that the kidnapping issues in Sulu at the time made the flights too busy to accommodate any civilian related matters.
We were almost getting frustrated waiting for every announcement of flight, and thinking of moving it again through Cebu Pacific Cargo services as the first time, but the cost is not practical as it will triple the cost of the items.In the end, if we move with this option, it will seem as if we bought the items at the same price as they would have been sold in Sulu, and making all the fundraising efforts useless, as we have ended up making business for the transport companies instead and sweating it all out for nothing.
But with the help of 51st SAF in Tawi Tawi, we were able to connect to 50th SAF in Sulu who took care of the logistics; they have sponsored the shipping of the goods with 2GO, and even hand carrying some on the commercial flights of their personnel. They also took charge of the moving from Zamboanga henceforward up to distribution.
While we aimed for 1000 kids and we may come up with 1000 bags, the security situation causing trouble with logistics make it not practical to proceed with school supplies. Incidentally, from the recent distribution of excess school supplies in Tawi Tawi, we have been told that the children of Malassa Elementary School don't have seats. Students come to class and squat. Hence, the excess funds will be used to build seats for the school. Currently, we are awaiting for an estimate cost of the materials from 51st PNP SAF Group in Tawi Tawi.
Meanwhile, the funds from the T-shirt sales of GivingIzReceiving will proceed with building the Alternative Classroom for the Badjaos. At the moment, we are awaiting correspondence from the village chief about seeking and finding interested Badjaos to work on the renovation of the structure, after shipping and provision of materials.
Pls see here for an excel file of the received donations, tally of expenses, and data on school supply recipients.