DAVAO City, July 16, 2015 —Simple backpacks mean a lot to the Bajau children of Basilan.
This idea is the inspiration behind Operation Backpack, which kicked off last April and was organized by the Claret Samal Foundation Inc. (CSFI).
Through the help of friends and generous patrons who saw the post in the CSFI Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ClaretSamalBajauFoundation), the Claretian missionaries who handle the foundation were able to raise funds enough for 374 backpacks, including school supplies for their Bajau scholars studying in the different Claretian-run schools.
Much-needed school materials
Bro. Nicer Natulla, CMF, project in-charge of CSFI said he did not expect such a pouring out of generosity from the donors who donated cash, backpacks, and school supplies for the Bajau children.
The foundation takes care of the five preparatory schools in different Bajau communities in Basilan and now has 134 pupils from nursery to kinder. Aside from that, the foundation also sponsored the education of 181 elementary pupils in different schools.
Natulla said after Operation Backpack, CSFI wants to continue helping the Bajau through a feeding program, seeing that most of the children are malnourished.
“Aside from feeding children, we will also look for ways to provide them with slippers and toiletries to promote good hygiene,” said Natulla during an interview with CBCP News.
Natulla added he is thankful for the help of the people behind the program headed by Bro. Alvin Arcete, CMF, administrator, and the volunteers of Claret Samal Foundation, Inc.
The foundation has been helping the Bajaus of Basilan for more than 20 years and has been in active in helping them live a better life through education.
“The Bajaus are one of the marginalized in this country, especially in this part of Mindanao. They live in the sea and they find it difficult to integrate themselves in the society. Some have been displaced due to armed conflicts, forcing them to beg in cities like Zamboanga and Metro Manila,” Natulla ended. (John Frances C. Fuentes/CBCP News)