DUEG PART I was a spur of the moment plan. During the regular meeting on November 04, 2012, members were brainstorming on what to do as a holiday activity for December. Someone, now unidentified, suggested an outreach in the Aeta Resettlement Area of Dueg. The club had gone there earlier that year on a minor climb up Mt. Damas. The idea was accepted. Then the details. The outreach was set for December 01 - 02, 2012. The gift-giving was to be done on Dec 02. It was not yet DUEG PART I.
DUEG PART I - Belle Tuliao welcomes the children, and explains the program
With only three weeks before the target dates, not much can be done. The club could not carry out an outreach that would benefit most of the individuals in the community. It was decided to limit the target beneficiaries to children enrolled at the Day Care level. The next decision had to be what to give. A member recalled that many of the children were barefooted. So, it had to be rubber slippers of the ‘Beachwalk’ type.
Subsequently, our then contact in the area, Yancey Yves T. Camba, then manager of DUFMA (Dueg Upland Farmers Marketing Association) suggested inclusion of the the elementary level pupils among the beneficiaries. We agreed. At that time, we were not ready to include high-schoolers.
The project pushed through as scheduled, with the members pooling their resources. The program set a pattern that we followed in subsequent reprise of the activity: Group games, orderly gift-giving, and merienda feeding.
Pencils, ballpoint pens, toys and various items accumulated by the members were given as prizes. Excess and general-use items were left with the teachers for their distribution and use as they see fit to do. This has become common practice for the outreach.
The beneficiary count was 165 children. The lone teacher who assisted us was Ms. Romelyn B. Alfonso.
Posing with some of the children, most have gone home. Front row, from the left: Brian, Rey. Standing: Belle, Kon, Gina, Bong, Wilma.
From the start, the group decided that we shall not serve instant soup. The soup consisted of elbow or shell macaroni, with fresh vegetables. chicken meat, and sliced hotdogs, enriched with canned milk. All brought from Manila. This was cooked on the morning of the activity by local volunteers. Soup bowls and plastic spoons were provided by the club.
The outreach was successful: The children were happy. The participants were happy. The participants not only paid their own transportation costs, as well as the common meals they ate, they also shared in the costs of purchased give-aways. Some gave more. A couple of members who were unable to join pitched in to cover part of the costs. To this day, we have maintained the practice of participants paying for their own transport ex-Manila and back, as well as equitably sharing in the cost of common meals cooked for them onsite.
The expenses for this first outreached totaled PHP9,494.47. Personal expenses of participants, including transportation, fuel and toll fees, meals on the road not included.
The club, thereafter, decided that the outreach to the same community shall be repeated, at least once a year, with enrolled children, up to fourth year High School, as target beneficiaries.
DUEG PART II was held on May 18-19, 2013. The gift-giving was done o the 19th, with 224 beneficiaries. With more time to prepare we managed to solicit funds from generous members and friends of the club. This time, each gift pack included a grade specific writing pads, notebooks, pencils and ballpoint pens. The new pencils and ballpoint pens were courtesy of the Amalgamated Specialties Corporation. We also added 100 grams of iodized salt to the package (upland diet is terribly deficient in iodine which is needed for healthy brain development). The gifts were given out contained in sling bags. Of course, there were the games and prizes.
The poster child is Mary Ramos, born October 05, 2009, of pure Aeta parents, in the resettlement community. She is seventh of eight children as of 2013.
Used pencils, crayons, hardly-used notebooks, watercolor sets and miscellaneous items were given away as prizes. The used items were donated by Le-Sil Montessori School of Parañaque. Among items left for common use were two wall-mounted, mechanical pencils. The banner poster child, Mary Ramos, was given her own huggable teddy bear.
The merienda feeding consisted of a more generous serving of macaroni soup plus a packet of crackers (we noted the first time around that half-full bowls were not enough, ‘Bitin’ in local parlance). After the schoolchildren have had their fill of soup, parents and other children still around were given the remainder.
Boy Scouts from the Blessed Trinity School of Las Piñas, headed by troop leader and teacher May Isabel Basilio-Sanchez, were invited to participate as part of their merit-badge quests. They conducted a bonding session with local scouts on the night of the 18th. They also provided crowd management support on the day of the main activity.
DUEG PART III was held January 25-26, 2014. This time, the beneficiary count reached 277 pupils. Give-aways were almost the same, without the sling bags but with a packet of instant noodles each (We were told that, asked to choose between the noodles and a pencil or ballpoint pen, the children would likely opt for the noodles). We managed to give out more prizes, including donated used and unused shirts, used pencils, hardly-used notebooks, used watercolor sets. The used school items were mostly donated by the Le-Sil Montessori School of Parañaque. Special gifts were given to the top academic honorees from Grade I to fourth year High School. This portion shall, henceforth, be a regular part of the activity.
As luck would have it, January 25 was the scheduled early enrollment day, and all the teachers were around to assist. The gift-giving was moved to that day. The teacher-coordinator was Ms. Luzviminda T. Monderin. The teachers were given one new t-shirt each. Mary Ramos, was given a special t-shirt.
Direct project expenditures amounted to PHP10,723.65.
For DUEG PART IV, we hope to do better. For each pupil or student, now a total of 283 students, a sling bag with one or two grade-specific writing pads, a new notebook, also grade specific as applicable, one or two new pencils, one new ballpoint pen (from grade V onwards), one or two packets of instant noodles, 100 to 250 grams of iodized salt. More games and better prizes.
The merienda feeding shall also be expanded to include an 8-ounce glass of instant juice drink. We decided on instant juice, rather than pre-packed, since this is easier to bring, economical, as well as environmentally friendlier.
A major target, funds permitting, this time is to provide one wall-mounted, mechanical pencil sharpener for each classroom. We were told that the children resorted to chewing on the wooden parts of pencils in order to expose the writing lead. We would need to buy at least ten pieces for this purpose. We asked if the children felt insulted when given used pencils. We were also told that they used pencils already as short as one inch. No, they are not insulted, they appreciate the gesture.
To-date, December 2014, we have received donations in-kind from the following: from Le-Sil Montessori School of Parañaque - more that 300 pieces of assorted, unused textbooks, workbooks and reference books, several dozens of used pencils and crayons, and hardly used notebooks. From the Blessed Trinity School of Las Piñas - hardly used notebooks and used pencils. From Dr. Joyce Cuyugan - miscellaneous accumulated give-aways suitable for children. Members have also donated various items.
A couple of new friends are sponsoring the noodle packs.
As early as September 2014, we have received cash donations from members and friends. We need more if we are to achieve our desired targets.
The estimated budget for direct project expenses is PHP15,000.00 if sling bags are not included. With sling bags, the budget is estimated to go up to PHP20,000.00. Both estimates do not include the wall-mounted, mechanical pencil sharpeners which cost approximately PHP500.00 each.