26 Sep Jay Jaboneta and the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation
Mindanao is indeed one of the richest and most beautiful regions in the Philippines and there could be no exact number of natural wonders that could be discovered in it. However, it is also no denying that its decades-old reputation for having the most number of poverty-stricken and underdeveloped societies in the country is also apparent and existing to this day. Nevertheless, children are at the front line at these unsolved issues of our nation.
When a Mindanaoan blogger Jay Jaboneta heard about a mangrove village called Layag-Layag, Zamboanga City where children had to cross half a mile of open water area to be able to go attend their classes at school, he was moved to share their story on Facebook. Little did he know that a simple Facebook post would appeal to the masses and would call the attention of those who also shared his concerns for the welfare of the school kids.
With encouragement from other people and his belief in himself, Jay formed the “Zamboanga Fund for Little Kids” with the mission to gather the necessary funds to build the boats as a means for the kids to cross without getting soaked and submerged in water so that they could go to school. With the support of several benefactors and concerned citizens, the group continued with its humanitarian activities for the community. It has later branched out to treating several other issues in the society and to other places in the country.
What started as a small group reaching out to a small group of people now became the “Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation” as one of the country’s leading organizations with the aim to provide schools with classrooms and buildings and students with school supplies. It has also been conducting with medical and dental missions and other environmental and livelihood programs among others.
One of its flagship projects is the Adopt a Fisherman project which helps fishermen in Mindanao whose livelihood were affected by Typhoon Pablo in 2012 by building fishing boats. A school boat program was created by the foundation for a community of students in Masbate with the same situation in Layag-Layag. Other parts of the Philippines reached include Cagayan de Oro City, Olongapo City, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Rizal.
Jay proves that kindness knows no physical boundary, culture, and economical requirement. All it takes is the heart to give and a mind to sustain one’s advocacies for those who might be needing some help to make their lives more bearable for them.