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bajau bajau

Bajau
Apostolate

Every summer, Bajau children who attend school from Grade 1 to College have their educational trip in Zamboanga City. For this year, we conducted a mini-Bajau Peace Camp at the Claret School of Zamboanga City. With their growing number, we decided to have two batches: that of the Grades 1-3 pupils and the Grade 4 to College students. This activity provided them the opportunity to appreciate the value of peace in their lives. It also aims to make them more aware of themselves and provide them more time to share and get to know each other.
The school year 2009-2010 formally started last June 13, 2009. We have enrolled 390 Bajau students from six Bajau communities (five from the town of Maluso and one from Latawan). There is an increase of 30 students for this school year. We also considered helping non-Bajaus in Pangasaan area due to the clamour of the people for the education of their children. The Day Care Center in Pangasaan was closed for some years due to lack of support from the local government. We were able to register 47 non-Bajau pre-schoolers, who are mostly Tausugs. We are now facilitating the school needs of 437 children. Among the adult Bajaus, we registered 216 for adult formal education program.

bajau bajau
Table 1: Bajau Enrollees for SY 2009-2010
Level of Education Maluso Area Pangasinan Area TOTAL
Pre-school 1 97 97
Pre-school 2 46 30 76
Elementary 166 31 197
High School 16 16
College 4 4
GRAND TOTAL: 329+ 61 TotalEnrollees= 390
Last July 30, 2009, the 13th year Foundation Anniversary of the Claret Samal Foundation, Inc. (CSFI) was meaningfully celebrated with a Scripture sharing of the CSFI staff. We feel blessed with the continued protection and guidance of the Lord as we accompany our Bajau brethren.
God has been so good. Amidst the reality of violence and “unpeace” in Basilan, He allowed us to establish buildings for the formation and well-being of the Bajaus. The Bajau Wellness Sanctuary (BWS) and the Water Tank were finally finished on August 31, 2009. The BWS is the second building we completed for this year. Last January 26, 2009 the construction of Bajau Formation Center (BFC) which was started sometime in May 2008 was accomplished; however, we waited for the second building to be finished for us to conveniently use the entire compound. We call this place Bajau Formation and WellnessSanctuary. It will be a symbolic place of refuge among the Bajaus in Maluso – a place to form their values in life, enrich their knowledge and skills or talents, a place of health care using traditional and alternative medications for sick Bajaus who will be readied to be referred to hospitals, if needed, for proper medications. It will also be a place to conduct the feeding of those Bajau children who are going to school. Likewise, Pre-school II classes will be held here as well as the on-going formation of the Bajaus to become Health Assistants. Training-Workshops to enhance their livelihood will be made available here, too, as well as meetings, counseling sessions for their various needs and classes to make them appreciate better their identity, culture and spirituality.
We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Conferenza Episcopale Italiani for the construction of the BFC, Manos Unidas for the BWS and Proclade-Madrid for the Water Tank. The Bajaus will conduct their thanksgiving ritual on September 18, 2009 to commence our formal use of the place. It will be done before their general assembly on the said date. The blessing is scheduled during the second day of the Bajau Ongka-Ongka or Bajau Festival which will be on November 20-22, 2009.We intend to transfer the entire operation of CSFI to this place by the last quarter of 2009.
We are also looking forward to the forthcoming educational trip of the Bajaus who are involved in the enhancement of the Bajau mat weaving and handicraft industry. This trip called LAKBAY ARAL: Unang hakbang sa pagpapakilala ng HINANGAN BAJAU sa lipunan is in collaboration with Claret School of Quezon City and Peace and Equity Foundation. It will orient and expose committed Bajaus to the mainstream market of their product and at the same time find potential buyers, retailers or sellers while they are trained to improve the quality of the craft of their products and create more saleable items in the market. This Lakbay Aral is to be done in Metro Manila on October 14-22, 2009. Indeed, we anticipate a brighter future for our Bajau brethren as they strive to improve their way of earning a living and become better persons everyday of their lives.