In the midst of so many challenges this year 2020, I’m so glad that several Mindanao youth groups have taken the initiative to address gaps in social services and collaborated with local government units and NGOs to develop projects that prioritized the survival, health, and livelihood of many of our fellow Filipinos.
Here is a list of Mindanaoan youth groups that showed bayanihan during the quarantine:
Tabang Sikad is a fund-raising initiative for sikad drivers from several barangays in Cagayan de Oro City. The project provided relief packs to sikad drivers whose daily income decreased from Php 300 to Php 80 – Php 100 during the quarantine. Started by a duo, Nekka and Liam, the team expanded their impact to collaborate with the Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA) in the city.
Also founded in Cagayan de Oro, Andam Higala is composed of a group of students who believe that a prepared citizen comes from a prepared family (“Ang andam nga higala, naggagikan sa andam nga pamilya”). The team raised funds to provide COVID-19 information and prevention brochures, sanitary kits for teenagers, and contraceptive pills for women and mothers all with the hope of instilling women’s health and dignity, and curb rising pregnancy rates in Cagayan de Oro City.
The Happy Cat Foundation
The Happy Cat Foundation, which started in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, strives to make agriculture and urban gardening more inviting, especially in the new normal. The group developed a 5-phase program in support of the government’s Plant, Plant, Plant initiative. They created ornamental and community vegetable gardens, purchased produce from local farmers and fishermen, raised funds to provide heathy relief pack alternatives of rice and vegetables, and produced fertilizers out of eggshells.
Supreme Student Government Action Force
The Supreme Student Government Action Force of the Notre Dame Village National High School (Cotabato City) worked to make education accessible to students near the Rio Grande de Mindanao (Mindanao River). The group assisted learners by providing boat transportation of students and parents going to school for enrolment as well as the delivery of modules from schools to students in this new era of remote learning.
Millennials PH (CDO) teamed up with more than 100 youth groups and launched a social media bayanihan campaign to help 20 communities from across all administrative regions in Mindanao at the height of the quarantine. The collaboration of these organizations resulted to over Php 400,000 cash and in-kind donations raised in a span of 3 months serving a variety of at-risk and vulnerable communities including low-wage earners and medical frontliners.
These five youth organizations are part of the 20 National finalists for the Search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards.
I am familiar with the TAYO Awards, having been invited to be a judge a few years ago.
The National Awardees and Finalists will receive Php 50,000 and Php 20,000 seed grants respectively during the National Awarding Ceremony on December 5, 2020. This Annual Search is the premier award-giving body in the country, recognizing the effort of Filipino youth groups since 2002. The Search is co-presented by the TAYO Awards Foundation, Coca Cola Foundation Philippines and San Miguel Corporation.