Youths donate toys to Mariki’s children PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 23 September 2012 14:40

There were toys and toys and many more toys, but not a single toy gun among them.

This much was noticeable when the toy playroom was inaugurated and opened on the morning of September 21, housed in one of the rooms of the barangay hall of Mariki, a Muslim village-on-stilts in Zamboanga City. The project is a joint undertaking of the Mass Communication students of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Barangay Council of Mariki and Youth Solidarity for Peace-Peace Advocates Zamboanga (YSP/PAZ). The event coincided with the day’s observance of International Day of Peace as sponsored by the United Nations.

The ribbon-cutting was officiated by Mariki barangay chairperson Hja. Palma Hasim,  YSP president Robert Basco, PAZ executive secretary Sr. Emma Delgado, and Christian Olasiman, YSP board chairman and local coordinator of the Philippine Toy Library.

Olasiman said the toy library project was initiated by some youths in Manila, among them his friends. Their first local center was set up in Layag-Layag, also a coastal Muslim village.  Mariki is the second in the city. The next one, he says, will be in the pediatric department of Zamboanga Regional Medical Center, specifically for children with cancer.

The toys were donations collected in various cities in the country, and some more from Germany.  The project then sets them up in playrooms, mostly located in poor communities.

During the short program, Sr. Emma praised the sense of social responsibility of the Ateneo Masscom students.  She urged them and other youths to continue to promote social harmony and cultural solidarity in the city  and the world.

The YSP was the sole Philippine awardee in the conferment rite of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ten Outstanding Youth Organizations  Awards held this earlier week in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Said Olasiman:  I hope this project can help the children of Mariki and let them be inspired to never let go of their dreams of having a brighter future ahead . . (as) we work together in providing our children an opportunity to learn and to play. — Peace Advocates Zamboanga