“Every day, people pass the busy and crowded streets of Taft Avenue. And everyday children flood these same streets begging for money in hopes [of] small meals that will help them get through the day. While we are blessed with the luxury of a prestigious education and the comforts of everyday living, there are numerous kids that lack the bare necessities for survival right in front of the green and white walls of our University.”
This is an excerpt from a solicitation letter from The Kain Kabataan Project (TKKP), an initiative spearheaded by DLSU students who aim to help the underprivileged children beyond the walls of the University. Founded “after coming together and recognizing each other’s common passion,” Zeb Eugenio (IV, MEE) leads his team of fellow Mechanical Engineering students in providing nearby street children their basic necessities, especially food.
The condition of the lives of students and the poor children seem to be on extreme opposite sides, but in reality, the group asserts, the privileged students of La Salle and the impoverished children outside are only separated by the University’s walls.
Realization of a cause
Eugenio describes that the creation of TKKP dates back to a time when he and his fellow fourth-year blockmates were thinking about making the most of their last year in the University. “We decided that before we left, we wanted to do something for the impoverished children that we always see [but ignore] around school,” he shares.
Eugenio and the rest of TKKP believe that these children deserve a better shot at life. According to Eugenio, children, no matter where they come from, will become the future of our nation. Thus, they deserve a chance to contribute to the betterment of our society. This belief led the group of young students to create TKKP.
Ups and downs
The TKKP was able to secure approval from the University’s Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) to support and fund their endeavours. One event the office and the group worked on together was the distribution of uniforms to the Alternative Learning System (ALS) students last February 3.
Eugenio admits that although the project receives monetary support from COSCA, their main problem is still a lack of financial support for the project. “We looked for funds wherever we could find them. These range from family members to friends [from] our local church,” shares Eugenio.
In the past, the students behind TKKP also had to make sacrifices in order to push through with their plans of action. Acknowledging that the insufficiency of funds is an impediment, some had to go to the extent of lending out their own personal money, according to Eugenio.
Despite the financial strain on the project, Eugenio reveals that he and his team feel a deep sense of achievement in their cause. Eugenio describes his group’s feeling as “very altruistic” after the success of the TKKP’s past events and having managed to pull through with these events despite difficulties in finances and inclement weather.
Hopes for the future
Eugenio does not see TKKP as a temporary and short-term endeavor. Instead, he hopes that their projects will continue and soon achieve sustainability in the future. “Ideally speaking, we hope to have one project every month. If everything turns out well, the major goal would be to turn our idea into a social enterprise in which we don’t just give fish but teach our underprivileged citizens how to fish,” he emphasizes. In line with this goal, TKKP is currently working on being recognized as an official University organization.
Asked about what other programs they intend to do in the future, Eugenio mentions that they plan on extending [their programs] from helping children to include teenagers and the elderly. “We have recognized that this may be contradictory to our group name and we hope to address this in the future by revising it to fit our future plan,” Eugenio ends.