Urban poor kids meet, learn how to voice woes PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 June 2014 13:06

Some 30 leaders of various sectoral groups of six communities served by Katilingban Para Sa Kalambuan, Inc. (KKI) held a conference-workshop last June 3  at the KKI training center in Sinunuc to discuss action plans for the protection and promotion of their children.

The outputs of the 4th Children and Youth Congress held last May 30 held at the Zamboanga Medical Society center served as the reference of the leaders’ discussions.

Some 106 children and youths - 71 females and 35 males - participated in the Congress. They came from nine community associations whose members reside in eight barangays, namely, Zone 1, Camino Nuevo C, Camino Nuevo D, Sinunuc, Sta. Catalina, Maasin, Baliwasan, and San Jose Gusu. Majority of  the participants were between 12 to 16 years old.

KKI president Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF said the Congress was held to “surface issues and concerns that the children and youth experience as well as their suggestions on how these can be addressed.”

Among those issues and concerns that emerged in the Congress were: child abuse in the forms of mental, physical, emotional, verbal, sexual; neglect, ‘pinapahiya sa maraming tao’, discrimination and cruelty to children. Child abuse is experienced both in the home and in school, they said;

Also, bullying, rape, trafficking, forced labor, drug use, smoking at an early age, increasing number of out-of-school youth, and others.

The youths and children urged barangay officials, social workers, police, school officials, and  parents to keep the children and youth in school; provide guidance counseling to those who experience abuse; “Gumawa ng anti-bullying act upang matigil ang pagbu-bully sa kapwas at dahil ito ay umaabuso na;” conduct advocacy campaign on the rights of children and youth, trafficking in humans and gender-based violence.

The children also urged duty bearers to conduct seminars to educate them on their rights, as well as hold spiritual, sports, hygiene and other personal development activities.

Fr. Calvo said all these issues and concerns of the children were considered by their elders in the multi-sectoral planning and workshop. The results of the multi-sectoral review will further be submitted to concerned barangays officials during a series of grassroots consultations that will later follow, he said.

Child and women protection is one of the main thrusts of KKI over the past many years. This serves as one of the pillars of the overall program of KKI to build socialized housing and people-oriented communities for the urban poor in Zamboanga City. Over 600 such houses for as many urban poor families have been built in three separate housing sites located in barangays Sinunuc  and Maasin.  The original costs came from grants of the Spanish government and foundation Manos Unidas, while subsequent homesite maintenance is supported by the amortizations paid by the housing beneficiaries. — Peace Advocates Zamboanga