Airanor Abubaker Datumanong, who works for DepEd, is a teacher and community service volunteer in Maguindanao. In January 2015, she uploaded photos of kids in Yellow Boats, who are students of Kalbugan Elementary School in Pagalungan, Maguindanao. Here is the history of how the Yellow Boats of Hope came to be in this area:
“During the conduct of my thesis research entitled Access of Bangsamoro Maguindanaon out of school children to basic education in Pagalungan Maguindanao,” she says, “I found out that distance of home to school due to body of water is one reason that the children in the Liguasan Pagalungan area can’t access basic education.
“I uploaded photos during my research and I asked Mr. Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan (Muss) to help me find an NGO that will help those children to access basic education. The boats that you see are a result of this project.
“I hope there are more investments to the children so the next generation has changes,” says Mrs. Datumanong. “Thank you to the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation for their peace, love and hope investment in this part of Maguindanao, and thank you so much sir Jeff (Jeff Mendez, Lead Implementor for Cotabato Funds for Little Kids) for your countless efforts.”
“The children that received the yellow boats are living in the Liguasan Marsh where the armed conflicts in Mindanao always took place,” says Mrs. Datumanong. “These children are the future masses of the Bangsamoro people, part of the natives of Mindanao. Helping them with their education means helping the Philippines with the peace process in Mindanao,” she says. “Investing education on them will lead them away from rebellion and insurgency in the future. I would like to say my heartfelt gratitude to the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation for helping the Children of the Liguasan, the heart of the armed conflict in Maguindanao.”
And Mr. Lidasan (Ateneo de Davao University, Al Qalam Department, Department Member) says, “We can help more of the children of the marsh.”
Here is more information on Liguasan Marsh from Birdlife International. Liguasan Marsh was declared a Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary by Forestry Administrative Order No. 19 on 19 January 1941.