BAGS OF HOPE PROJECT: PROMOTING PEACE BY NURTURING THE FUTURE OF OUR YOUTH THROUGH EDUCATION
May 23, 2017 was the start of a five month long horrendous conflict between Terrorist group and the Philippine Army in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur. Hundreds of civilians were affected by this skirmish including children. Many have evacuated to a number of neighboring cities, including children that were forced to stop attending schools due to the war. The Davao Peace Council, in which SGI of The Philippines is one of the Head Council Organization, took action together with other peace partner organizations to spearhead initiatives in order to help out our fellow citizens that are caught between the clash in Marawi. Our High School and Student Division have thought of helping out the kids of Marawi who are settled in Iligan by providing the kids school bags with some school supplies, in order for them to attend classes in the evacuation centers which the settle in.
The Bag of Hope Project was supported by SGI National and Southern Mindanao Leaders, with the hope that our Youth of our High and Student Division in Davao can inspire others to help the children continue their studies and dreams despite the ongoing war and their unfortunate conditions. The SGI Youth designed a Small Back Pack Bag and had produced 200 bags with a pair of note book and pencils inside. The bags was endorse to our Peace Partner Organization – WE ARE MARAWI – during the Davao Peace Fair in Abreeza Ayala Mall in Davao City to commemorate the UN’s International Day of Peace. We Are Marawi is a non-profit organization who has the means to deliver the bags to the children of Marawi. However, the delivery of these bags was never an easy task since the Arm forces will not just allow the organizations to reach the evacuation center for security purposes which caused delay for the bags to arrive to the children. Our Peace Partner form We Are Marawi and H.O.P.E. Foundation was only allowed to pass the check points if they are delivering Food and Medical Supplies. It was a challenging and frustrating time for the Davao Peace Council members, however, none have lost their hopes. Finally, after almost 4 months of waiting, our Peace Partners was finally allowed to deliver the Bags of Hope to the children of Marawi on February 4, 2018. Despite the delay and struggles, all was worth the wait when the moment the children warmly accepted each bags with their innocent smiles full of dreams and hope. Truly an amazing sight to see happy children as they proudly carry their bags.
Because of the our Youth division’s humble gesture to help, the entire Davao Peace Council was also inspire to come up with the DIGNITY KITS where food and medicine supplies and other necessities, including one electric fan was placed inside a big plastic container. With this initiative, not only that we are able to help the children of Marawi to be inspired to study, but we are able to Inspire our fellow peace partners to extend a helping hand to their families as well.