The Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns has spearheaded a distribution of story books donated by Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) under its One Million Books for One Million Filipino Children. The distributed took place in 5 communities in Marikina city from June 12 – July 1. The activity has benefitted at least hundred (400) children, 257 girls and 143 boys, whose ages ranging from 7 – 17 years old. Most of the beneficiaries are students (Grade 1 to Grade 12) while some of them are out of school children/youth.

The activities have been conducted in partnership with the chapters of Salinlahi Youth in Marikina as well as the homeowners associations s in respective communities. Aside from book distribution, children were also given food and drinks sponsored by the Task Force Children of the Storm (TFCOS).

Supposedly, the distribution would commence immediately after the receipt of the books from CANVAS in April. However, it was temporarily postponed in consideration with the upsurge of cases of COVID-19 in the city of Marikina as well as the existing quarantine measures imposed by the national government.

After a series of consultations with the Salinlahi Youth Marikina and leaders of target communities, schedules of distributions were initially identified. As a result, the Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns was able to distribute story books for at least 400 school-aged children in the four Barangays of Marikina City from June 12 to July 1.

During the Book Distribution, the staff of Salinlahi gave utmost importance to the well-being of children and youth beneficiaries by properly observing minimum health protocols such as wearing of facemasks, implementing physical distancing and the provision of alcohol.

In most of the Barangays, the story books were distributed in front of beneficiaries’ houses in order to prevent the unnecessary gathering of children. In some areas where children have already been going outside for play and recreational purposes, the Salinlahi have reached out to homeowners associations and officials of the Barangay to request for permit allowing the conduct of discussion with older beneficiaries.

These children were gathered either in open spaces and multi-purpose halls with the objective of making them aware of the good intentions of the One Million Books for One Million Filipino Children Project as well as the contents of each book which primarily focused on the rights of children and youth.

In every activity, the officers of each chapter were the ones who received the story books from the Salinlahi before giving out provide to the beneficiaries whom they identified prior to the actual distribution.

The children beneficiaries were very happy upon receiving the books as it would not only provide them with new knowledge but also additional productive activities while observing home quarantine during the pandemic.  

Some of the beneficiaries we interviewed said that from these books they would learn a lot of things that they could share to their fellow children. It would also provide them opportunities to impart their reading skills to younger children – including their siblings and friends. Most of the children who received Sino Si Juan immediately grabbed their crayons and amusedly added colors on the black and white illustrations.

There were also areas that held story-telling sessions using the books with beneficiaries during and after the distribution.

Aside from the community leaders, parents of the beneficiaries also expressed their appreciation to the project.

Overall, the activities were held successfully aside from the instances where some children in the communities who were not given with books since there were only 100 children allotted in every Barangay and the beneficiaries were pre-identified by the partner organizations. In order to resolve the problem, the children were encouraged to allow others to lend their books.