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Students, teachers nationwide offer support through ‘Messages of Hope’

posted Jan 11, 2014, 11:12 PM by Edeliza Manalaysay

    The tail-end of the year saw a string of unfortunate events that devastated ways of living throughout the country; the most recent and most massive being the conflict in Zamboanga, the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, and the onslaught of Super-typhoon Yolanda.The Messages of Hope campaign was initiated to complement the psychosocial intervention given to everyone in these areas. The Department of Education (DepEd) believes that apart from addressing the immediate needs of the survivors, and the physical and financial gaps brought about by these incidents, emotional aid is crucial in rebuilding lives.

    The call to send in inspirational letters started through mobile messaging where DepEd Regional Directors (RD) and Schools Division Superintendents (SDS) were encouraged to participate. It was later advertised online through DepEd's various online properties. The result was an influx of more than 40,000 inspiring messages and creative Christmas cards which have been sorted by more than 140 volunteers last weekend. 

    Couples, families, and groups of friends graced the call for volunteers to help categorize the letters. From 9 in the morning to 6 in the evening last Saturday and Sunday, boxes labeled "Tacloban," "Samar," "Eastern Samar," "Leyte," "Palawan,” “Cebu,” “Aklan/ Antique/ Capiz/ Iloilo," "Bohol," and "Zamboanga" were filled with colorful and handwritten letters made by elementary and high school students across the nation. 

    Cash Maghirang from the Office of Undersecretary for Regional Operations commends the prompt response, "We sent the call through the RD and the SDS offices, and in under a week we received an outpour of letters from Ifugao to Zamboanga del Sur."

    The estimated 40,000 letters that were sorted last weekend exclude those that were coursed directly to the locales concerned. In Aklan, areas impacted by Yolanda sent their contribution directly to the affected sites in their province.

    Families in evacuation centers can expect the letters soon, Maghirang says that "To date, we have already delivered 12 boxes to Region 8, two in Zamboanga, four in Bohol, two in Capiz, and one box in Iloilo. They are being distributed through the help of the concerned SDS in these areas." As for the case in Region 8 and in Bohol wherein their locality is severely damaged, the letters are exhibited for public perusal. 

    The most touching letter to count came from Kimberly Capapas of Sergio Osmeña National High School in Zamboanga del Norte who wrote: "Babangon tayo para sa ating bayan. Anumang pagsubok na nararamdaman natin, kailangan tayong maging matatag. Magdasal sa Panginoon kahit iba-iba ang ating relihiyon."