Anak Yatim by Nash Abduhadi

Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2013 and is filed under Community, Feature, NGOs At Work in PhilSouth. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

JOLO, Sulu/26 April 2013–How does it feel to be an orphan?  “It could be the worst feeling in the world.”

The Anak Yatim Project in Sulu is a concerted effort of concerned citizens. Orphans in this project experience the joy of having 'big brothers' and 'big sisters'. NASH ABDUHADI

“No man is an island,” cliché as it may sound but that is the reality in life. Living a life without a companion, partner, friend, loved one, brother or sister, or even parents is unbearable. Being parentless is the worst feeling in this world. Self-pity is a frequent if not the worst enemy, but the key is to accept that life still goes on. When I lost my father, I felt that the whole world turned upside down. Lots of sacrifices, hardships and sufferings I encountered during the adjustment period. I felt that it was the end of the world for me but I stood tall and faced all the consequences that life tested me with. I became strong because of the guidance, companionship, camaraderie and not to mention the love, care and affection that the people surrounding me continuously showed me. This paved the way to realizing that life after all is a choice that we make. We can choose to be happy when we want too amidst all the pain that we have been through, so long as at the end of the day we must bear in mind that there is still a rainbow after the rain.

Mariah Carey once said that, “In a perfect world, we human beings would co-exist harmoniously like a rainbow, a multitude of colors, each layer is as vibrant and clear by itself but when put into unison, it is boundless, breath-taking and celestial.” This was proven true by the strengthened efforts and partnership rendered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Marine Battalion Landing Team 2 (MBLT-2) under the leadership of Lt. Col. Romulo “Tatay” Quemado, Kusug Batah Sug (KBS), a pool of young, active and enthusiastic Tausug volunteers who advocate for peace in Sulu, Maimbung Local Government, and other stakeholders as they launched the Anak Yatim Project on March 8, 2013 at Maimbung Park, Maimbung, Sulu. The activity kicked off with the preliminaries such as parlor games with the Anak Yatim where they enjoyed the fun-filled activities that the sponsors rendered them. The smiles on their faces during that moment were undeniable and a genuine smile is seen on the faces of these young hopefuls amidst the fact that they are orphans. Free services such as haircuts, food feeding, distribution of school supplies, toys and other helps were also made available during that day. The Anak Yatim enjoyed the moment playing in the park with the security sectors and youths who sincerely provided camaraderie between them. What struck me most was the “kuwentuhan” (story-telling) sessions of the Anak Yatim with their Big Brothers and Big Sisters dubbed as Kusug Batah Sug (KBS).

Below are some anecdotal stories shared by KBS members to this writer:

It was very challenging to talk with an orphaned kid. You have to be skilled, circumspect; and congruence is vital. Even months are not enough if you want to be enlightened as to the exact extent of their situations. These kids may vary according to behavior, the way they communicate, the way they interact. But one thing is common: you can almost see their heavy past in their eyes and through their enigmatic smile which is difficult to process. Despite of that, they still have the enthusiasm to learn many things. I taught them how to draw different stuff and how to use a globe and they enjoyed it. Then I realized, “Quality Education” would still save these kids from the brink of forgetting how life is important and beautiful. – Aldam Absara, KBS Photograpeace

Since I am fond of socializing with people, I actually enjoyed the moment with Anak Yatim, I met and made friends with a grade 3 pupil of Kapuk Punggul, Indanan, Sulu. She’s a shy type at first, silent and loner but when she was comfortable with me, she turned into a very cheerful kid. She actually loves singing, playing hide and seek and had a bundle of laugh at the time we played and enjoyed each other’s company until the end of the day. When I offered a gift as a simple token to her, I could not describe exactly how I felt because I was fulfilled, happy yet sad since we needed to go home and bid “adios” to these young hopefuls. A moral lesson I learned was that an Anak Yatim is a person who loves her mother and wants to finish her education so she can help her mother in return. Education is indeed her first step so she can attain better future. She wants to be a teacher and teaching would be her greatest dream in life and I can help her reach that. –Marcilyn Amin, KBS Photograpeace

We are so consumed with our daily work that we tend to forget about these kids, who are not just ordinary kids, they are ones who had been mentioned several times in the Holy Qur’an (Yatim is an Arabic word which means “an orphan”). They are the most vulnerable, special and matters the most. Those of us who grew up with both of our parents around to take care of us must have been really lucky. But to these kids, it is like waiting for “inah” (mother) or “amah” (father) every day to come home one day because they “went abroad”. Some of their guardians have to tell them this way just not to hurt them. Nald, a KBS member who was always joyful was almost in his tears while sharing this, had two little orphans for a day to play with. One, an eight year old girl told him that she wanted to become a teacher someday and whose “amah” went abroad and will be coming home. She was so delighted to receive a gift from her KBS big brother, Nald. She misses her father, she said and is longing for him. But one day, he will come home and will bring a lot of toys for her. Truth hurts as they say, and no matter how much her guardian wanted to tell her the truth, he couldn’t afford to do so as this will shatter the little girl’s fragile heart. There was another boy, who at young age of seven prided his camera toy here and there and frequently telling Dhems (his KBS big brother) that he wanted to become just like the guy he sees taking photos: a photographer. They may not be like other kids who are privileged to have parents that send them to school to fulfill their dreams, but these little angels have dreams.  Dreams that you and I can help make into reality. The men and women in uniform of the MBLT 2 had started it, maybe we too can help. Amidst all these adversities that Lupah Sug is facing right now, it would not be too much to take time and think of these kids who have been orphaned of conflict. Let us all help one another. And to all others in behind of the Anak Yatim Project, We thank you. All for a peaceful Lupah Sug.—Jana, HD Centre Sulu

“If there is one thing I could give to the Anak Yatim it is my continuous guidance for them, I will continue imparting education on these children so they can learn something new because I have observed that they were keen on learning and they listen to every word that we say which a good trait is indeed. An Anak Yatim dreams of becoming a teacher someday so she can help her sisters get out of poverty and they can together pursue greener pasture.  An important lesson I have learned was that no matter what status you are in, you have to believe in the power of your dreams”- Edzra, KBS Anak Yatim Project

While we still have our parents with us, we should take care of them because we don’t know when they would be taken away from us. I can relate much with the stories of an Anak Yatim I handled because I am also an orphan, I lost my father when I was in grade 5 and he lost his while he’s in grade 2. We had common denominator, we share the same hobby and what surprised me most was when I gave him a toy camera, he was amazed with it and wanted to become a soldier but not one handling a gun, instead a camera as his weapon to attain peace. –Aldhemar Lakibul, KBS POP ART

Well, as an orphan myself, I say that, at the end of the day, their smiles are the priceless gift that we received. No matter how rocky the situation is, the Anak Yatim still manage to flaunt the candid smile which only means that peace starts with a good attitude.  This is because it is what you carry wherever you go and whatever you do, attitude is what makes life a hundred percent.  Truly, the Anak Yatim Project is not just an ordinary activity, it is a noble endeavor that is worth emulating.”  (Nash Abduhadi/The PhilSouth Angle)

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