The program of early interactive education was in existence before the mini- library was conceptualized. The idea took root when about 5 years ago while reading “RED CROSS LAGING HANDA MANUAL” a child asked me what does a library look like. I have enthralled them about stories and introduced them the concept of a library wherein they could get their hand on books and read a different one when they desired it.
It was an idea that never materialized because, at that time, my programs consist of myself and some donations from closest friends. It became a bi-weekly outings to Haduan community just to read children’s books, some of which are either borrowed or bought in a second hand bookshop where children get the book as a price for attending.
When I was able to involve my students into the program, the parents and the school I worked with are very sceptical about the program to be included in my curriculum, so I have to make sure that the pilot trip will be as educational to the lowland students and as enriching to the community for whom I have been serving for almost 10 years (3 years for Senior High Program). It was pretty hard at first since private education sees my program as just an end to meet the requirement set by DepEd for the Grade 12 curriculum. But since I cannot be choosy, doing this type of service alone is really cash intensive. My lowland students and their parents are not as accepting as I thought they would be.
When HAPI asks me to make a project proposal with them taking the helm for a sustainable project with indigenous people, I did not hesitate to do so. The realization that the reading room/library is within reach is pretty awesome. This meant, a good solid lead for us to renovate the office of the tribal chief and make it the depository of all the educational materials and just provide an open area where it can be comfortable for the children to participate in the reading activities. We do not have the capacity to renovate the office as we would want nor do we have the monies to purchase what we wanted for an open activity area. We do not like to sound ungrateful for all those chairs, tables and what not that has been already given to us by some of my benevolent friends but the idea of actually having the reading room a reality was such a surprise to the shy Aeta Community.
I think the community is skeptical when I told them that I will come by on the 10th to bring with me HAPI-CFO, Edwin Bulaclac, so he can see for himself what we are as a community, I think both parties are skeptical. And I also think both parties are impressed with each other. HAPI through the eyes of its CFO] Mr Edwin Bulaclac, saw that the project proposal as doable and the community is receptive towards the proposal, whereas Tribal Chief of Haduan Clan saw it as a realization, that not all lowlanders are just visiting for the sake of tourism and usurpation of the natural beauty the community offers . He saw the sincerity of HAPI to make the proposal sustainable and attainable as it promised to be part of the community for at least 10 years or more.
That being said, I am grateful to be a HUMANist with the HAPIest group.