Tuesday, October 16, 2007

DOLE launches 'Angel Tree for Child Laborers' project in Central Visayas

Cebu City (4 October) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-7) recently launched the project 'Angel Tree for Child Laborers,' which aims to raise funds for the basic needs of working children.

DOLE-7 Regional Director Elias Cayanong said the project is implemented in a national level and that here in the region they are appealing to kind-hearted people to share what they have in kind and in cash so that immediate needs of working children can be addressed.

The project, launched during the weekly Kapihan sa PIA, is timed as the nation celebrates National Children's Month which is observed every October. This year's theme focused on "Bright Child: Karapatan nasa 'yo, Isigaw sa Buong Mundo."

A ceremonial gift-giving of 30 school bags by Cayanong to Atty. Nina Valezona, executive director of Share-A-Child Movement, Inc. punctuated the launching event. The Share-A-Child Movement, a non-government organization that also provides educational assistance to working children, is the recipient of the 30 school bags.

The 30 school bags given however will be given to the working children of Barangay Babag, a mountain barangay in Cebu City where majority of the minors work in the vegetable and cutflower industry.

Valenzona said their group is working with over 900 child laborers in Barangay Babag while these children are exposed to hazardous chemicals when using pesticide spray and sharp instruments during harvesting.

The Share-A-Child Movement, Inc. has 250 scholar-beneficiaries in the elementary, high school and college levels.

A Singaporean Youth Group that is partnering with Valenzona's group is coming over in November where they will also be donating school bags and school shoes to working children of Barangay Babag.

Cayanong said their primary objective of the government is to bring child laborers back to school while government cannot do it alone. This is the major reason why we are launching the project to involve the community in the cost sharing of such a humanitarian cause.

The DOLE-s role here is to serve as broker between children laborers that are officially recorded in their database and the donors who want to share anything to the working children.

For financial donations, Cayanong said a trust account will be set up that will be transparent for accounting purposes.

There are about 26,800 registered child laborers within Central Visayas in the DOLE-7 database. (PIA-Cebu/FCR)

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