The Antipolo Seminary Foundation (ASF) believes children are most vulnerable to the ill effects of poverty, exploitation and discrimination. To help children achieve their potentials, the foundation assists projects and initiatives from depressed communities that address the needs and promote the rights and interests of children.
Child-focused projects: one of ASF’s priority concerns
Since 1995, the ASF has been assisting and supporting deserving community-initiated early childhood development projects. These include day care or learning centers with health, nutrition monitoring and supplemental feeding components.
The primary beneficiary group of these projects are children from impoverished communities, aged 4 -7 years old. Its secondary beneficiaries include the parents of the students who are given relevant basic childcare and nutrition knowledge. These projects also provide leadership and organizational management interventions, thus further contributing to community development. The ASF’s assistance to these projects include:
- technical support directed at improving participative project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation;
- financial resources to support the center’s most basic needs, particularly during its formative years;
- finance and resource management trainings, and;
- referral to early-childhood education practitioners and specialists for particular training needs of the project.
To date, ASF has assisted 33 community organizations, benefiting a total of 1,713 preschool children. Local para-teachers and caregivers for these projects have been developed as well.
Below are short desciptions of two communities assisted by the ASF.
Samahang Maralita para sa Katiyakan sa Paniniharahan (SAMAKAPA)
The constant threat of being evicted from their community, unemployment and underemployment, and the lack of access to basic social services such as health and education services are but some of the major difficulties confronting the residents of an urban poor community in Barangay Parang, Marikina City. These concerns motivated the residents of this slum area to unite. They formed the Samahang Maralita para sa Katiyakan sa Paniniharahan (SAMAKAPA) or Association of Poor Settlers for Land Security, so they can address these difficulties. The organization is presently composed of 175 member-families.
The fruits of SAMAKAPA’s initiatives were slowly realized. SAMAKAPA’s negotiations with the National Housing Authority for the sale and distribution of their four-hectare community to its residents succeeded. Individual land titling is now being processed. Following this success, SAMAKAPA conceived of addressing the preschool education needs of their children. They requested ASF’s assistance in developing a pre-school project for their community. view ECD images
After a series of meetings and consultations, the ASF provided the organization with limited financial support for the training and allowance of the daycare teachers, curriculum development, school materials, supplemental feeding and education of members and parents. The ASF also assisted in improving their planning-assessments and in the development of their finance system.
During the period of assistance, a total of 27 children aged 4-6 years benefited. In addition, 16 children aged 7-9 years, who never had preschool education, got the chance to attend one-month summer classes that prepared them for elementary education the following month of June. The parents, on the other hand, took part in awareness-raising seminars on health and nutrition and about their community situation. The project also resulted in enhancing the leadership and para-legal skills of key organization members and officers. Four (4) parateachers for the learning center were trained and are still serving the community.
To this day, SAMAKAPA and its day care center continue to operate. The organization has become self-reliant in managing its daycare program. It has also assisted other urban poor communities in establishing their own daycare projects and has referred some of these groups to ASF for additional assistance.