Town kids get learning treat

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Monday, November 8, 2010

JULIBELLE Ginaban, 7, woke up at Saturday dawn not knowing what to expect from the “Children’s Festival” she was invited to.

She rode the multicab accompanied by neighbors from Barangay Caceres in Oslob town south of Cebu to the covered court beside the Immaculate Conception church.

This was the first trip of Julibelle, who is the 11th of 13 children, to the town proper.


She was one of the four pupils chosen by her teacher, who she calls Ma’am Vanessa, to attend the Children’s Festival hosted by the Oslob Municipal Government and the Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (DACF) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi).

The festival is a showcase of learning activities that are delivered through
storytelling, role-playing, essay-writing as well as dancing and singing contests.


Several topics are discussed through “learning stations.”

At the Hataw Kabataan Station, culture and heritage values are emphasized. In the Kabataan para sa Kalikasan and Kalusugan (Children for nature and health), integrated development is focused on.

The Kabataan para sa Bayan station (Children for the country) pertains to lessons on leadership and citizenship while the last station, Kabataan at Kagandahang-asal (Children and good manners), is focused on values education lessons.

Children like Julibelle are treated to stories that convey values, like the “Basura Monster,” a tale about how a monster was born from the community’s unsegregated garbage and how two children were able to lead the practice of proper solid waste management.


More than 500 children between eight and17 joined the two-day activity in Oslob.

“We don’t want the usual way of learning in the classroom,” said DACF deputy executive director Anabelle Fajardo.

“We organized a festival kay murag duwa-duwa but with lessons. We wanted the children to have fun in learning (like playing),” she said.

Fajardo said the festival is already on its fourth year, although this is the first time the activity is held out of town.

Each year, she said, since the festival was introduced, the number of participants has grown from 300 on the first year to almost 1,700 last year.

After an evaluation, the DACF is holding the festival in four towns this year, San Francisco and Pilar in Camotes Island in the north and the towns of Oslob and Barili in the south.

“We have a scorecard and the performance (rating), the holistic condition of the local government unit,” she said.


The LGUs were also evaluated on their childcare programs, competencies under the expanded Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures our Cebu program, which is a joint project of Rafi and the Cebu Provincial Government.

After the day-long affair, Julibelle said she would be telling her father—a driver, and her mother who works as a laundrywoman—about her experiences.

“Ganahan ko pirming ingon ani (I want more of this),” she said with a big smile.

She said she wants to be a teacher someday, just like “Ma’am Vanessa.”

For the seven-year-old who helps out in the house by sweeping the floor and watering plants, meeting other children, playfully learning and capping the day with an ice
cream cone the first trip to the town proper an unforgettable experience.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 08, 2010.

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