Hiligaynon Organization Empowers the Youth Through Volunteerism!
Lory Joyce Andagan | July 10, 2020
In today’s generation, the youth are now more involved in different organizations and projects aiming to help communities in whatever ways they can. This is the reason why a group of young individuals in Iloilo founded an organization called ABYAN to make volunteerism and community involvement a norm among youth.
The word Abyan in Hiligaynon word means a friend, a buddy, or a comrade. The organization is a barangay-based operation in Ferraris, Sara, Iloilo, established last 10 April 2020 during community quarantine. ABYAN was founded by a broadcast journalist, an auditor, a registered medical technologist, and a college student living in the same barangay. “The goal is to make volunteerism and community involvement a norm among the youth”, John Paul Hervas, one of its founding members recalls.
Nine days after it was established, the organization launched its first project, the Palit Plastic Para sa School Supplies ni Bulilit. In this project, ABYAN distributed school kits which include a bag, a reusable bottle, three notebooks, pad paper, pens, and crayons. Originally, they planned to provide schools packs to 100 kids coming from the poorest of the poor families in their barangay but because of the overflowing support from their partners, they prepared 170 sets. “Under the Palilit Plastic Para sa School Supplies ni Bulilit, every beneficiary, in order to claim a school kit, must present at least a kilo of plastic bottles. This is part of the organization’s series of initiatives against plastic waste”, says Hervas. Since its launch, ABYAN was able to distribute 105 school kits and was able to collect more than a hundred kilos of plastic bottles. The collected plastic bottles will be filled with other plastic waste to become strong and durable bricks. These bricks will be used for the future construction projects of the organization.
Intending to make more projects in their community, the organization submitted a project proposal to the Positive Youth Development Network last May 15 and was among the successful proponents to receive a grant of Php10,000. With this, they came up with another initiative dubbed as Project TulAklatan. “From the words tulak (push) and aklatan (library), Project TulAklatan is a community mobile library that aims to bring books closer to children, make reading fun for everyone, encourage out-of-school youth to go back to school or avail the alternative learning system and help kids reduce their anxieties and fears brought by the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic," Hervas explains. Currently, they were able to serve around a hundred kids in their barangay who were given access to books and board games. Kids were also taught about the importance of social distancing, proper handwashing, and the wearing of face masks.
What started as a dream to give back to their barangay, ABYAN was able to launch these initiatives hoping to empower more children, engage in more communities, and encourage more leaders. As of now, ABYAN is blessed to work with 36 hardworking members composed mainly of young professionals, college and high school students. These youth will serve as an example to the other kids that the spirit of volunteerism can make a difference in society.