Campaign to Uplift Sulu’s Education and Livelihood Launched

One with Sulu, the campaign to uplift the state of education and livelihood in Sulu, was recently launched to the public, with an exhibit and a documentary screening at Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City.

One with Sulu was borne out of the partnership between Klasrums ng Pag-Asa, the Philippine Marine Corps,and the Tausug community, supported by private sector volunteers and like-minded non-profit organizations and movements such as Ayala Foundation, Ayala Malls, Bayanihang Pampaaralan, Beam Toothpaste, Black Pencil Project, Deecon Builders, Globe Telecom, Fisherfarms, Feedmix, Foster Foods, Inc., FunGames, Juan Portrait, La Filipina, Matawkasi, Mindanao Grains Processing Co., Inc., Nautilus Divers, Philippine Marine Corps, PowerMac Center, Premier Cement, Pride Laundry Detergent, Sultanate of Patikul, Sulu Photograpeace, TEN Moves, Tibuuk Lupah Sug Network, and WeLovePost.

The images used for the One with Sulu exhibit and documentary were the result of a series of trips by volunteers in 2013, as new classrooms were built for the children of Hadji Hassiman Elementary School in Jolo and Kaunayan Elementary School and Tuup Elementary School in Patikul. Previously, these communities saw their classrooms razed by fire or falling into disrepair as a result of the conflict. Since the start of 2013, some 20 classrooms were built in various communities in Jolo and Patikul to benefit thousands of Tausug children.

“One with Sulu is a unified effort to ensure quality education for the children of Sulu. The goal is to build 20 more classrooms,” shares TEN Moves volunteer and Klasrums ng Pag-asa founder Atty. Angelo Valencia. “We are bringing the southern shores to the corporate jungles to bring the stories of our Tausug brothers and sisters to a larger public and hopefully get them involved in bringing about genuine peace and development in an area that has seen much conflict.”

Meanwhile, as part of its initiatives for One with Sulu, Ayala Foundation is implementing Text2Teach and a sustainable livelihood program. 

“Text2Teach provides multimedia educational materials in English, Math, Science, and Values Education through mobile technology,” explains Luli Heras-de Leon, President of Ayala Foundation. “We are also launching a crowdfunding campaign for sustainable livelihood initiatives in the area. This will run in for 45 days and aims to raise at least Php200,000.”

To date, Mindanao Grains Processing Co., Inc. has committed to building 10 more classrooms in Sulu in 2014 under the Klasrums ng Pag-Asa and TEN Moves programs, with the cumulative donation for classrooms amounting to Php1.73 million. The company is also donating another Php256,000 in support of the Text2Teach program. Other private sector companies are encouraged to help fund the construction of additional classrooms in Sulu. Proceeds generated by One with Sulu will fall under TEN Moves, which seeks to build 10,000 classrooms throughout the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Globe’s support to the Text2Teach project covers the counterpart funding for 10 schools in Patikul. As a member of the Text2Teach Alliance, Globe is hosting the project’s server and is providing subsidy to download video clips for a one-year period.

“Through One with Sulu, we can know the Tausug people better and have a deeper appreciation of the richness of the Tausug culture,” explains Mercia Salarda Alli of Matawkasi. “We also hope to change the public’s perception about Sulu, that we ourselves also do not want conflict. We are also sharing the local initiatives that we’re doing to help Sulu and that we also dream of a brighter future for our children.”

“One with Sulu means that all of us are helping Sulu achieve its aspirations—of being understood and free from misjudgement, and of being secured from threats to human safety,” says Lt. Col. Greg Hernandez of the Philippine Marine Corps. “It is one way for other Filipinos to know the true culture of our Tausug brothers and sisters.”

“One with Sulu means a lot to the Philippine Marine Corps,” adds Lt. Col. Antonio Mangoroban, Jr. of Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 6. “It is a step closer to the dream of finding and having a common ground among various stakeholders in Sulu. It is a proverbial first step toward a thousand, but It is now a shared journey among those who care about Sulu. It is a realization that the Marines have partners that share in their hopes and dreams for Sulu.”

The One with Sulu exhibit will run from November 6 to 10 at the Greenbelt 3 lobby. There will be regular documentary screenings, as well as musical performances and art and storytelling activities for the kids.

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