Barangay San Carlos, despite having the smallest land area in Mariveles, Bataan, serves as the commercial district of the Municipality, housing the Mariveles Public Market. Every day, the vendors of the public market, most of them parents with children to take care of, wake up early just to meet the demands of the flocking residents from the neighboring barangays. Their children, not wanting to be left at home, prefer to join their parents in the public market. Some of them would join their parents in selling goods, and some would prefer playing along the market’s streets. As Barangay San Carlos also continuously to progress due to the presence of the Freeport Area of Bataan, many parents are working in the factories, forcing some of them to leave their children behind, without anyone to supervise them. In a municipality as small as Barangay San Carlos, where can they possibly provide a safe and nurturing play area for their kids? This situation called the attention of the barangay officials to build a toy library in the area.
It was not an easy task for Barangay San Carlos to immediately put up the toy library. Financial difficulties were right on the way but keeping in mind the mission of making their kids happier, they were able to put together the Child’s Rights and Toy Library Center.
During the unveiling of their Child’s Rights and Toy Library Center, one of their BarangayCouncilors, Jester Ivan, narrated how they were able to put up their toy library: “Nung nagPublic Hearing para ipasa ang ordinansa [na magawa ang toy library], nandoon ang lahat ng sectors ng barangay at nagsuggest sila na magkaroon ng contribution bawatstreet.” (During the Public Hearing to pass the ordinance [for the creation of the toy library], all sectors of the barangay were present and they suggested that each street should have a contribution.) Getting this kind of suggestion from the community itself encouraged theBarangay Officials to start collecting money by passing ‘coin banks’, out of empty bottles, in each street. From that simple, collective act, they were able to pool Php 7,000 to fund the setting-up of the toy library. Donations from the neighborhood also generously came in, with families dropping-off their pre-loved toys and books in the Barangay Hall. Generosity poured in, showing how the community believed in what the toy library can bring to their children.
Setting up the toy library exceeded their expectation of just giving joy to the kids of theirBarangay. It even brought the Barangay to experience the spirit of modern Bayanihan. Jester Ivan imparts the realization of what unity can result to, “’Yung pinaghirapan dito sa Barangay, nagkaroon ng katuparan. Ibig sabihin, hindi pala lahat natatapos sa panaginip lang. Basta magtutulungan at may tutulong din, magagawang posible ang mukhang imposible.” (The hard work we did resulted into something fruitful. This means not everything ends in just a dream. If we help one another and if others help as well, we can make the impossible possible.)
Philippine Toy Library
From a Facebook status, a national advocacy was born. The Philippine Toy Library (PTL) is made up of volunteer-friends who hope to provide the experience of play to our Filipino children, especially those who live in cramped and congested areas. Idle spaces in barangays, schools or parishes are turned into fun and educational PTL areas to keep kids off the streets. Currently,PTL has 70 sites and more are being put up, to bring joy to the next generation of Filipinos.
For more information, please visit the following:
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Drop off points are in Quezon City (Kids Ahoy Center for Blended Learning; the PTL office and the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines office); Alabang; Pampanga (Orchid Bookstore branches); Baguio; Bacolod; Zamboanga City (ADZU, Tzu Chi Foundation and the YSP office).