In this section we are publishing the articles of independent writers about their local charities that from their point of view are really helping people in need.
If you are interested to contribute helping people as we are please bookmark this page and come here later as well to see the new charities the local writers will be informing us about in order to be able to help them.
CHARITY and MY SCHOOL
by Fauzia Majumder
I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, studied in Holy Cross High School. The school was our favorite place, the books, library, playground, and the Sisters in our school, helping us to understand and enjoy lessons. When we grew up, we saw that local schools are not same. The lessons are not interesting, no action, and no story-telling, there was a small play-ground but we were not permitted to play, we felt sad for others. There wasn’t any library!
After serving my family, I came to live with my mum and dad. I saw under pillaged children are not getting proper education.
I bought the books I loved and enjoyed to read. I got some copies, color pencils. But nothing worked. Local people had local schools. So I thought for them, who were under-privileged. But according to them, when everything is free, it is not a good school, you will not get proper education there. It is like this that what you get free is totally free for you. Take it or leave it. You want education, you go to school, if you don’t feel like taking education, and you are free not to go there. No promises, no thoughts for others like teachers, facilitators waiting for you, no responsibility. I needed to pay the teachers and the house rent and the bills. So I started to take fees. I give them books, uniform, tiffin (some snacks) once a week and take them to a study tour. All of these works need money. So I ask them to pay as much as they can and the rest of the amount is added by me.
The name of my school is “STAR SCHOOL,” it is only a kindergarten school. We have 50 students from age 4+ to 10. Almost all of the students are under privileged. Their parents are working parents but never sufficient enough and they never can afford field trips. I myself try to offer them summer fruits, blankets for winter and toys to play inside the school. I give them, the most I can give. I want to bring up as well as they can serve the society. At least not to become like street vagabonds. They enjoy studying in my school, but I want to give them more. They need to have doctor’s check-up and need to know more about hygiene, to stay healthy and fit. I need educational toys to make learning fun and interesting. When they get some facilities, like free books, colors, toys, these will increase their interest which will keep them engaged with the lessons. My uncle helped me with the IPS,(indoor power system), the battery is finished. If I can afford a battery, the children will not feel hot and they will not suffer. They should learn to be honest, need to be brave and strong to face the challenges of life.
I spend nearly 450$ for my school, only to rent the flat and to pay the bills. The payment from the children is paid to the teachers. My family insists me to close the school, it is seven long years, (running 8th), and I don’t get any money, only some of my students love me and I love my students. I wish to see them succeed in life.
I submit my wish-list, dear donators, your donation will bring hope to my underprivileged students. You can see them in Facebook page, link: https://www.facebook.com/STAR-School-1575081829404232/ and then the wish-list link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/Q2CPP1OAM8XJ
This is only for my students to give them those as prizes and gifts. You can send directly using DHL. Thanks, my hope and your donation, may brighten up their life.
Zamboanga City: a maiden city in the far-flung island of Mindanao, is one of the “Land of Promise” cities that since antiquity had well-preserved the colourful and deep history of the land, particularly by the Moro people. It is where the most activity of Mindanao happens, and in some cases, a secondary figure from her sister city Davao in terms of commerce and tourism. It is also worth noting that the city is a beautiful melt pot of cultures, from the existence of natural tourist spots such as the Merloquet Falls and Abong Abong River, to the Spanish heritage that is the origin of the city’s Chavacano language, to the Western heritage of a city growing up in development, it is no wonder why Zamboanga City is given so many names, including “City of Flowers” and “Asia’s Latin City”.
Despite these factors, there are certain barangays (or counties) that are far from the city proper itself. And with the existence of these barangays, some of them could not afford ample simple transportation services, especially those living near coastal places that are laden with thick quantities of mangrove trees. Though scientifically speaking, mangroves are very beneficial in keeping tidal waves away from these coastal communities, the abundance of water that mangrove needs pose a conflict among the residents of Sitio Layag-layag in Zamboanga City to get to the city proper. Every day, they would have to swim to and fro to the city, with the depths that are way past above their heads. Hence, since 2011, the Yellow Boat Project has initially turned over 900 boats to various coastal communities in Zamboanga City that are primarily used by students to go to their schools clean dry, to the residents who bring their trading goods and raw materials to sell, and more importantly, used as mobile units to save the residents that are stranded when torrential rains come every monsoon season annually, and being used to transport relief goods and supplies, in partnership with other large volunteer groups such as the Philippine Red Cross.
The context for this humanitarian work is that the Philippines-though tropical in classification-is a gateway to most strong typhoons that normally occur between the months of June and November. And these monsoon seasons pose a great danger to the Filipinos, especially those living in coastal and water-based communities. With the Philippines being an archipelagic nation, accumulation of water during the rainy seasons would mean countless water surges that in turn flood the mainlands, severely affecting not only the local economy but also causing pandemonium that greatly disturbs the normal cycle of the locality. Though relocation is an option, it should be reminded that some societies exist in perilous places (as mentioned like coastal communities) because it is considered their source of income, and with their less amount of income would mean less money to be allocated for other necessities aside from food and clothing. Hence, the inclusion of movable transport within the community is a lot more preferable to foster movement and income to the locals and make bridges towards development.
The Yellow Boat Project, formerly known as the Philippine Funds for Kids, was the brainchild of Jay Jaboneta, a Filipino blogger, and Anton Mari H. Lim, a Filipino veterinarian. The project started out as a national campaign by Jaboneta and Lim upon their visit in Sitio Layag-layag and learning that kids go to school by swimming in the river to get to school. Launched in 2010, the national movement through social media caught the attention of initial donors, and in May 2011, through the generous donation of the City Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of logs confiscated from illegal logging, the initial boat was being turned over to Sitio Layag-layag in March 2011. Since then, the word has been spread out through social media, and their advocacy has been brought to other less-fortunate places in the Philippines, such as in the Province of Masbate, considered as one of the country’s poorest provinces. The Yellow Boat Project continuously coordinates with other interested donors to find new communities for the turning over of boats. It is also worth mentioning that the Yellow Boat Project, in partnership with another organization called the Tzu Chi Foundation, has since then expounded the project by building and maintaining a daycare centre, building classrooms and schools, dorms, providing scholarships, providing school bags and other school supplies, conducting medical/dental missions, and empowering the community as a whole through applicable environmental and livelihood programs.
The Yellow Boat Project beliefs in the fact that by aiding the children, we create these abstract bridges that brings the future and the child closer. As being noted by the country’s national hero Dr. Jose Rizal: “The children are the hope of this Fatherland.” And with this great adage, The Yellow Boat Project believes that every boat is a symbol of hope, that no matter how different our social status are, as long as there is a helping hand, it takes every swish in the water, and every wood chipped to become a boat for a child to be optimist of the future.
The Yellow Boat Project accepts donation through its Philippine bank account on Banco de Oro (BDO), both Peso and US Dollar accounts. You can also register to their official website at http://yellowboat.org and your donation shall be credited from your PayPal account. For other information and concerns, interested donors may get in touch at [email protected].
Melel Xojobal (a phrase meaning ‘true light’ in the indigenous Mayan Tzotzil language) is an organization founded in 1997 to support the children of indigenous parents in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, the southernmost state in Mexico.
San Cristóbal de las Casas (‘Jovel’, or ‘place in the clouds’ in the most widely-spoken indigenous languages in the region) is situated in the Central Highland region of Chiapas at 2,200 metres above sea level. The altitude and the surrounding mountainous terrain ensure a refreshingly cool, damp climate, a fact not lost on the thousands of North-American and European tourists who flock there each year, many of whom end up staying much longer than they originally intended. A visitor can’t help but be struck by the low-key, low-rise Spanish-colonial era style of the buildings lining the narrow streets, especially if they arrived via the heat and bustle of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state capital. The traditional feel of the historical centre, one of the most obvious expressions (to the visitor) of the region’s culture, led to the city being designated one of Mexico’s pueblos magicos (Magic Towns) in 2003. Regardless of any ‘official status’, the ‘magic’ of the place can very easily take hold of the casual visitor and turn them into a semi-permanent resident.
More than climate and architecture however, the most striking thing for a visitor will be the indigenous culture and population embedded in the city. Roughly a third of the town’s population is indigenous, mostly Tzotzil and Tzeltal, the two largest indigenous groups in Chiapas. To a casual observer the indigenous women and girls (men and boys dress less traditionally and thus stand out less) might give a sense of ownership, that they are guardians of the area’s unique culture. While this is true, the inescapable fact is that a huge number of indigenous children in the vicinity of San Cristobal (as well as in the rest of Chiapas, other states in Southern Mexico, and in Guatemala) suffer greatly from the effects of poverty, lack of education, discrimination and deprivation of basic rights. While the world focusses its attention (rightly) on warzones and the most acute global humanitarian crises, and (wrongly) on the issues of drug trafficking and associated gang warfare in Mexico, indigenous children in Southern regions continue to be last in line as the benefits of modernity are unevenly distributed amongst Mexicans. Melel Xojobal seeks to redress this situation locally by providing direct and inexpensive support to indigenous children and young people in the vicinity of San Cristobal de las Casas.
While starvation is virtually unheard of in this fertile region, childhood malnutrition is a persistent problem in the region, and its prevalence is much higher in indigenous groups. Along with a lack of early stimulation, early childhood malnutrition is the most important factor in the gaps in later educational attainment between indigenous children and other groups. Melel Xojobal runs a day-care centre for babies and children aged 0-4. They receive two nutritious meals daily and, in cases of severe or chronic deficiencies, medical nutritional support. There are also early stimulation activities and play facilities, as well as workshops to which parents (some still in their teens) are invited. The majority of staff in the day-care centre are volunteers, increasing further the proportion of donations spent directly on supporting children. The same building is used for the day-care centre and all of Melel Xojobals’s administrative activities.
Many children aged 5-13 in the vicinity of San Cristobal work on the streets, with shoe-polishing and selling crafts as the two main areas of work. Melel Xojobal does not seek to take working children ‘off the streets’, but rather to provide them with educational activities and give support intended to prevent them dropping out of formal education, a persistent problem among indigenous families. Classes and workshops (directly funded by donations) in mathematics, Spanish and the children’s own indigenous languages are given in the areas where they typically work. These activities help cover gaps in the children’s education and help them develop the abilities and confidence to independently continue in formal education.
For teenagers aged 13-18, Melel Xojobal provides support by staging classes and workshops in the areas of education about basic rights, sex education, substance abuse and the right to self-determination. By taking part in these activities, the teenagers increase their chances of becoming self-determined adults with the ability to support themselves and their families and participate fully in the economic and political lives of their communities, their region and their country.
The support and activities provided by Melel Xojobal to the three different age-groups are intended to work holistically. Older children are often given the freedom to take part in the activities provided by Melel Xojobal and increase their school attendance (and also continue the economic activities that support their families) because younger siblings are at the day-care centre. Older teenagers increase their economic and political participation, which will in turn reduce the future need for large, inefficient foundations and social programmes.
Whether it’s toddlers who are both literally and figuratively ‘full of beans’, a twelve-year-old boy taking a break from shining shoes to attend a maths class, or a seventeen-year-old women speaking confidently at a press conference alongside a representative of the state government, Melel Xojobal hopes to remain a small, efficient organization that uses donations for the kind of direct assistance to children that has the most lasting effect on their well-being and prospects.
Donations to Melel Xojobal can be made directly through PayPal:
Alternatively, through GlobalGiving:
They can be contacted through their website: