CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Advocates fast to build Mindanao schools

MANILA (UCAN): Members of a Philippine ecumenical church group, Dambana, started the Pray, Fast, Build Lenten programme and other Lenten activities to raise money to help build tribal schools in the southern region of Mindanao.
 
The group, an ecumenical disaster response network of faith-based organisations, has been inviting young people to join the project.
 
Miro Sabino, a 15-year-old son of a church worker, donated his savings during the Christmas break to the programme, saying he is happy to be able to help.
 
Dambana was established in 2012 to “rebuild hope in tangible terms” after the super typhoon, Typhoon Bopha, devastated the southern Philippine region.
 
The Pray, Fast, Build programme was started in 2013, the organization launched the programme to help tribal communities.
 
Norma Dollaga, the organisation’s coordinator, said it’s possible for a person to raise US$40 ($312) during the Lenten season if they skip a meal a day.
 
Last year, around US$16,000 ($125,800) was raised for a school building.
 
“Fasting, as a spiritual expression, is intended to lead us more deeply into fellowship and kinship,” Dollaga expained.
 
Part of the money collected from the activity this year will go towards the Alternative Learning Centre for Agriculture and Livelihood Development in Mindanao’s Caraga region.
 
The learning centre has become a target for military harassment due to suspicions that it teaches students subversive ideologies.
 
The presidenty, Rodrigo Duterte, even threatened to bomb the school, which was established in 2004 by the Diocese of Tandag.
 
Father Raymond Montero Ambray, of the diocese’s social action apostolate, welcomed the Dambana initiative, saying that people should learn “to celebrate and give thanks by sharing.”
 
There are at least 200 tribal community schools that provide formal and alternative education in hinterland communities across Mindanao.

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