Children study in mausoleums

“When I saw them, I promised that when I start working, I’ll give 10% of my salary to the poor,” Rosemarie Dizon, the Deputy Director of the non-government organization, Action for Nurturing Children and Environment (ANCE) ensured as she prepares for her opening remarks.
Scholars of ANCE who live in Carreta, Lorega, and Chinese cemetery were awarded certificates of recognition last Saturday, April 16, 2016 for showing exemplary performance in the tutorial classes ANCE conducted.
While being awarded, the children also celebrated the birthday of the organization’s founder, Father Max Abalos.
Father Max Abalos and ANCE started conducting tutorials since 2006, after they gathered the parents of these children in the cemetery and shared Bible messages to them.
Up to the present day, ANCE tutors their scholars every Saturday morning, in the Chinese cemetery’s mausoleum and Carreta cemetery’s Sto. Rosario chapel.
Volunteers from other countries and from various universities in Cebu City such as the University of San Carlos, University of Cebu, University of Southern Philippines Foundation, University of San Jose-Recolettos and South Western University assist these children in their assignments or lessons which they find difficult to understand.
“It’s very sad that students in grade 1 to grade 2 still don’t know how to read and write,” social worker Rosemarie Dizon said.
In helping out these students who are jeered with “kalabira” (skull) in school for living in the cemetery, it has been a challenge for ANCE to gather more volunteers and to make the mausoleums more conducive to learning.
“Actually mangreklamo mani sila. Muingon nga, dili sila maminaw. So I always tell them, bata man jud na sila. What’s important is that atleast, sa pila ka minutes nga naminaw sila sa inyoha, they can learn something, (The volunteers complain and tell me the children don’t listen to them. So I always tell them that they are only kids and what’s important is that the children learn something)” Dizon said.
To help them in their cause, the organizations namely Missio, Aktionsgruppe kinder in Not., Schmitz Stiftung, DKA Austria, Deisternsingers, SVD Australia and USA financially support them.
Consequently, ANCE is able to serve the people through the day-care centers they built in mausoleums and the scholarship program they grant, aside from the tutorials they offer.
As of now, they have college scholars in the Cebu Normal University, University of San Carlos and University of Cebu, who enjoy free tuition and teach the children in the cemetery.
Qualified college scholars of ANCE are children of active members of the organization who have an average grade of not less than 82 percent and choose to take up service-oriented courses.
Dizon said that through their educational programs, the parents of their scholars’ view on education changed.
She said that before, the parents didn’t care whether their children are in school or not. But now that ANCE already have scholars who have graduated, they encourage their children to go to school.

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