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The Big Kuya Project Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Rotaract Club of Manila Metro, Philippines Mar 6, 2008
Education , Religious Freedom , Child & Youth Rights  
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The Big Kuya Project The Big Kuya Project (Kuya means Brother) of our club started in December 2006; it was then a one day activity where we gave a feeding program to the children of Sitio Kabulusan, a small community in Muntinlupa City, Philippines. Back then, we never thought that it was the start of something new, not only to our lives, but especially to the lives of the children of Sitio Kabulusan.

Sitio Kabulusan is one of the depressed areas in the Philippines. People in this kind of community would often be seen gossiping, drinking liquor (even in the wee hours of the morning) or gambling instead of doing an 8 hour job to provide for their family. Most women of Sitio Kabulusan are stay-at-home moms while the fathers work as carpenters, taxi, jeepne, or pedicab drivers and construction workers. They have no high-paying jobs or homes they could call their own. They live in houses made of wood, located beside a creek. Learning about this situation and environment, we wonder how the children living in this area live their everyday lives, and who serves as their role models. What kind of values do they get? Do they deserve all of this?

After making a survey and gathering information, our club, the Rotaract Club of Manila Metro decided to provide the children in this area with lessons on character education. We asked for the help of their barangay (ward) to give us a list of children ages 8 to12 years old that were willing to come every Saturday for our lessons on character education. At first, there were only twenty children, girls and boys who voluntarily listened to our story telling and joined our activities. After a week or two, the list grew bigger, from twenty to thirty-five children, but since the community didn’t have a bigger or a more conducive space for activities like this, we agreed to do our lessons and activities in a basketball court beside a creek.

Every Saturday, we walked for about 15 to 20 minutes to reach the place; we did this to remind ourselves that every step we took was a journey towards our dream to give the children of Kabulusan a better community. From September 2007 to February 2008, we committed ourselves to teach character education to thirty five children of Sitio Kabulusan. For one hour and a half, we gave these children lessons on respect, love for self, God and others, generosity, gratitude, cooperation, trust, honesty, truthfulness, humility, patience, teamwork, goal setting and being responsible. Every week, we became Ates (Big Sisters) and Kuyas (Big Brothers) to these children. Since thirty five is a big number, we divided the class into two groups of boys and girls. We have 5 female Rotaractors who served as the girls’ big sisters and 8 male Rotaractors who became the boys’ big brothers.

Every week, each member was assigned to do the lesson planning. The content of the lesson was divided among members; there would be a Rotaractor assigned to do the ice breaker, motivational activity, the lesson proper, the application and evaluation of the lesson. It was never easy for us at first, but as we have gone along, we’ve learned to love the children as if they are our own younger brothers and sisters. We’ve learned to care for them and to enjoy and love what we are doing. And most especially, we’ve learned to look forward to every Saturday we spend with the children.

Even if we do our lessons in a basketball court, it has never been a hindrance for us; instead, it serves as a challenge to finish what we have started. We firmly believe that all of us, regardless of age, creed and nationality, can help change the world. And we can start doing it by empowering today’s children to choose what is right and what is good. We think that by providing these children with lessons on character education, we will be able to help them dream big and to turn those dreams into a reality. This is our way of showing what a Rotaract Club can do. Rotaract Clubs can do better than a simple feeding program, or a book drive, or a toy donation. What this world needs is for the youth to act, to take part in changing the world. We are very lucky to have the support of our sponsoring Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Manila Metro, for their continuous financial and emotional assistance and for being part of our inspiration to serve and to share.

Today, as we look back to what we have started and what we have provided to the children of Sitio Kabulusan, we have come to realize that nothing is really impossible if you know what your goals are and if you work hard- really hard- to achieve those goals. After five months of consistently teaching these children about character education, three of them will be graduating from elementary grade and have promised us that they will continue their studies until they finish college no matter what happens. They have promised us that when the right time comes and when opportunity permits, they will also choose to serve as big brothers and sisters to communities like Sitio Kabulusan. To hear them say these things make us feel that we have done the right thing. For us, our mission is for these children learn to give back what they have received, regardless of their status in life, age, creed and beliefs.

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