Last 28 July 2016, members of the University of the Philippines SOCCSKSARGEN (UP Sox) and the Mindanao State University Federation of Elementary Educators (MSU FEED) distributed books and read a story to the Sama Dilaut students of Bawing Elementary School, General Santos City. The activity was done in celebration of the National Children’s Book Day.
The National Children’s Book Day is “celebrated every third Tuesday of July to commemorate the anniversary of the publication of Jose Rizal’s ‘The Monkey and the Turtle’ in Trubner’s Oriental Record in London.” The Philippine Board on Books for Young People leads the month-long celebration.
Sol & Sula’s Voyage
The storybooks were copies of Sol, a short fiction for children written by Agay Llanera, illustrated by Farley del Rosario, and published by CANVAS and UST Press. CANVAS promotes love of reading in Filipino students through their One Million Books for One Million Filipino Children campaign. Through this campaign, individuals and organisations can donate and send award-winning books to a group of Filipino children.
The copies of Sol were donated by author Catherine Torres, who recently released Sula’s Voyage (Scholastic, 2016), a young adult novel with Sama Dilaut characters. It is a story about Sula’s journey of self-discovery where she learns her connection with the Sama Dilaut tribe.
The Sama Dilaut students of Bawing Elementary School, according to Principal Rita Solis, are mostly from Badjao Village, located a few kilometres away from the school. The Sama Dilaut in General Santos are referred to with the exonym Badjao, which most Sama Dilaut have accepted since it is the one used in government programs. The teachers, however, informally call their Sama Dilaut students as Goodjao to discourage teasing.
Principal Solis added that most of the Sama Dilaut students cut classes early to help their parents at work. They also perform low in the Mother Tongue subject because the medium of instruction is in Cebuano or Binisaya. Lack of reading materials written in their native Sinama language is another concern.
UP Sox and MSU FEED intend to go back to Bawing Elementary School in the months to come to help address some of these issues. If you want to help, just leave a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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