Layag-Layag’s Tzu Chi Day Care and Alternative Learning Center opens PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 March 2012 08:36

In a simple ceremony and without so much fun fare, Tzu Chi Foundation opened a “floating” Tzu Chi Day Care and Alternative Learning Center at Layag-Layag Community in Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City recently. It was witnessed by the core members of the I CAN Advocacy Group with Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids (ZFLK) Chief Firestarter and Story Teller Jay Jaboneta as special guest. Missed was “father of Layag-Layag kids” Dr. Anton Lim who was out of town. The center aims to make basic education more accessible to children from the marginalized families of Layag-Layag.

For those who are not aware of what’s happening and where this is, Layag-Layag is an offshore community in Talon-Talon surrounded with mangroves. Their stilt houses are above seawater and the people’s main sources of income are fishing and growing of agar-agar. It caught the attention of Manila-based Jaboneta 2 years ago when he learned that the Layag-Layag kids had to go to school wet since they have to swim when it was high tide or wade thru thick sea mud when it is low tide. But now they go to school faster and dry. Thanks to the Yellow Boat.
A simple call for help to build boats for these kids in Jaboneta’s Facebook Account has become a national and international phenomenon. Civic leader Dr. Anton Lim became his local coordinator while Jaboneta travelled around for support. With local boat builders they built yellow colored boats named Pag-Asa ferrying the Layag-Layag kids to school in the main dry land. This noble humanitarian project has been published in national and interntional newspapers and magazines like Reader's Digest, been featured in different TV shows, and was recognized by Facebook Adminstrators as one of their top FB stories.

Different civic organizations primarily Tzu Chi Foundation, Rotary Club of Zamboanga City, and the I CAN Foundation as well as corporations and private individuals have since been helping Layag-Layag become a better community. There is an on-going plan to build a mosque there since most of the residents belong to Islam faith, and to improve their water system. For now, this learning center is just a start as funds are still being raised to build a big multi-purpose center with library.

by Dante Corteza

Last Updated on Monday, 26 March 2012 08:52