Community kids love to hang out in our center for social interaction and fellowship. ToM’s projects and investments are indeed geared toward them. They are the next leaders and the ones who bring changes in their community in the next 10 years.
Our daycare center is a busy place. On the ground floor, AMG has their feeding program while the 2nd floor accommodates the daycare with about 30 children. After that we have daily tutorials for students from elementary to college, and an Alternative Learning System (ALS) for out-of school youth learning twice a week. On weekdays, the center becomes a Student Center where children come for social interaction and fellowship. Parents in the marriage and family gatherings and parents of children in feeding program also come together in the center for a special activity each month. Other programs such as medical outreach and health care teachings are also held in the center on occasions. We are now resuming our computer services and putting up a small library to give our students a better atmosphere for their research and study. That’s how precious our daycare center is!
Though the group activities start with an educational or leisurely purpose, they are a powerful tool in accompanying participants, particularly the youths, in their turbulent adolescent years. The groups provide high levels of emotional support and a sense of trust otherwise hard to find in that suspicious community. Many in this compound live in constant mental stress from their harsh survival conditions. They cry when sharing their financial struggle to find transportation to school, to eat once a day, or their frustration about some social injustice. They feel alone in their struggle for integrity, with relentless pressure to succumb to “desperate acts” in exchange for a hundred peso bill. It is no small thing for them to know we are there for them.
And it is no small thing for our country’s future either. As someone asked: “If you grew up being discriminated against with little education or economic opportunity – and someone handed you a gun and said “We are taking back what was ours anyway” wouldn’t you be tempted?? We have to be asking about the next generation. Who are the kids playing in the dirty streets of our compound? Are they going to be successful businessmen and women, or the next ISIS? Help us curb evil with much good.
We aim to make it more regular to take our youth out in an open place or park to have sports activities like basketball, football, volleyball, badminton, etc.
Artistic Expression (music, drama, art)
A small budget is set aside to encourage youth to cultivate and preserve their cultural ethnicity through dances or stories portrayed through drama, dance, and/or musical instrumentation.
Outings and Camps
Away from the busyness of life, outings and campus serve as great tools for emotional and physical renewal for participants.
To prepare our youth for work, Tents of Mercy’s corporate friends sometimes conduct mock-up job interviews for youth who just graduated from college or are soon to graduate. Candidates are taken through a briefing where they discuss what to do and not to do, what to wear, and how to prepare a resume. The hope is for these interviews to help them find regular jobs in Manila. Many private companies tend to shy away from employing Muslims because of unfortunate stereotyping.