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The Care and Feeding of Communal Solidarity

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If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so is it, too, in the reckoning of a civil society group for internally displaced children of the MNLF siege.  Thus did personnel and associates of Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) conduct a feeding and origami-learning activity for the elementary school pupils of Barangay Rio Hondo, Zamboanga City in the morning of Wednesday, September 10 at their school, to alleviate the physical and psychological hunger they have been suffering as young, innocent evacuees.

This is our way of re-establishing communal solidarity with the children and their parents, said ZABIDA president Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF. This is an expression of our concept of peace-building. Most of these children are still living in evacuation centers at the grandstand and daily have to commute to their school here in Rio Hondo, he observed.

The humanitarian action was co-sponsored by the Claret School of Zamboanga led by director Fr. Mauricio Ulep, whose teachers together with ZABIDA staff also taught the school children how to fold paper into “peace birds”. Other benefactors included lay leaders of the Claret Parish, staff of Katilingban para sa Kalambuan, Inc. Akay Kalinga, Reach Out to Others Foundation, Peace Advocates Zamboanga, members of the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace, faculty of the elementary school and out-school youths enrolled in ZABIDA’s Mindanao Youth for Development program. It was graced by city councilor Rudy Bayot.

ZABIDA had also conducted a similar Solidarity Day activity in Tetuan Central Elementary School last September 8. Aside from the supplemental feeding, the school’s students and teachers were taught organic farming methods hands-on at their vegetable gardens, Fr. Calvo said. The school was an evacuation center for IDPs, too.

Fr.Calvo said ZABIDA and Claret School will soon jointly hold a reflection session to more deeply analyze the current situations resulting from the siege, with resource inputs from the United Nations Office of Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance. (Peace Advocates Zamboanga)




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