Humaneity Magazine

Issue 11

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Jay Jaboneta with Dr Anton Lim, John Michael Dellariarte, Meryl Grace Agudelo and the I CAN Make A Difference team. Proverbsville School in Pampanga invites Jaboneta to be a 2012 graduation speaker. Schoolchildren in Layag-Layag, Zamboanga City, wade through the waters to go to school. At the Summit, a volunteer from the 2010 presidential campaign spoke of how children in Layag- Layag have to swim to school. In the small village, nearly 1,500 Muslim families live in huts on stilts over the sea. The families do not have the means to buy boats and so their kids have to swim and wade 2km through water every school day, often holding their uniforms and notebooks in airtight plastic wrappers above their heads. Once they reached shore, the children still have to walk half a kilometer to school. Jaboneta couldn't sleep that night. The next day, he flew back to Manila and posted the story as an update on his Facebook status. He also began researching the issue on his own. He contacted Dr Anton Lim, an active supporter of the President in Zamboanga City and the head of the volunteer organization, Tzu Chi Foundation Schoolchildren in Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, jump in celebration after receiving their yellow boats. in Zamboanga, and asked him to check the story. Once he confirmed the story, Jaboneta shared it with friends on Facebook. Together, their enthusiasm helped shaped the Yellow Boat Project. The project also caught the attention of the Philippines' marketing guru, Josiah Go, and, along with Dr Lim's support and the Facebook platform, the Yellow Boat Project raised almost Php70,000 (US$1,638.19) within seven days. The rest is history. HOW THEY DID IT Using confiscated logs donated by the local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Jaboneta's team asked boat maker Abraham Mawadi to build the first Yellow Boat. They named it "Bagong Pagasa", or "New Hope". With the new boat, school attendance soared as a result. After parents ferried their kids to school, they used the boats for fishing and seaweed farming. After one year working for the Government, Jaboneta resigned to spend more time on the Yellow Boat Project with the growing support coming from community leaders like Dr Lim, Dra Ofelia Samar-Sy, Justino Cabarles and John Michael Dellariarte. Lim, who was also a leader in the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City, had access to many dedicated volunteers. Tzu Chi and Rotary Club have been instrumental in providing goods and medical services to the Yellow Boat Project and often goes to Layag-Layag to see what else the community needs. The project started in March 27, 2011 with the turnover of the first yellow boat. june 2012 19

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