From stressed to blessed: Saguna’s story of hope amid the global health crisis

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3 - kadtabanga

“What can we do?”

For a team of only 6 people, it was a question we constantly asked ourselves.

Our options were limited due to factors such as fewer manpower, strict implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), and limited monetary resources to start with, yet we knew for sure that we needed to do something. 

We did not start our initiative right away as we were still individually adjusting with what is going on within our surroundings. But at some point, something moved us to start our initiative which will not only change our lives but also the lives of others.

Kadtabanga Saguna volunteers hand over their food packs for their target beneficiaries, low wage earners like street vendors and drives.

A blessing in disguise

One day, a young individual experienced what seemed to be mental stress. She posted inappropriate comments which were not only offensive but caught the attention of many. In return, she received a lot of hate comments. 

Her family was yet to confirm what truly triggered her misbehavior, but it moved our team to start a conversation on how this COVID-19 crisis is affecting the mental health of everyone especially the youth. 

This pandemic has permeated into almost every aspect of our lives. It is negatively affecting the way we work, the way we socialize, and really truly, the way we live. Thus, we came up with the idea of sharing a daily dose of “Mental Health Tips During COVID-19 Pandemic” on our social media page to promote good mental health practices amidst this crisis.

A volunteer from the Saguna intiative purchases from a market vendor.

The start of something new

Day by day, life is getting harder for everyone, most especially for the daily wage earners who were forced to stay at home and were jobless. We all can attest to this. Our team was then motivated to call for a donation. Within a week, we received a total amount of P13,000. It is not that much but we knew it can go a long way. After all, no amount of help is any lesser than the other. 

The relief operation was very challenging, from purchasing goods up to the distribution, since we need to work with a limited number of people due to our city’s implementation of ECQ. Our team then decided to support the local growers by buying local agricultural products from them. 

Working with local growers is a heart-warming experience. Since the moment they knew that we will be donating what we bought from them, they gave us more than what we needed. Their difficult situation did not become a hindrance for them to help others.

It was very fulfilling and at the same time heartbreaking to hand 50 food packs (containing 3.5 kilos of rice, dried fish, and fresh vegetables) to every “sikad” driver and street vendor situated in various areas within our city. 

The contents of Saguna’s relief packs include various vegetables and rice.

It was heartbreaking since we can not afford to give everyone who is in need. It was heartbreaking to see these people in the streets who are suffering under the scorching heat of the sun and the uncertainty of having something to fill their stomachs. It was even more heartbreaking to say “Sorry, kuya, naubusan na kami (We’re so sorry, we’ve run out of goods). This is the reason why we told ourselves that this will not be the last relief effort.

Alhamdulillah, we are now looking forward to another relief operation with the help of Kapit-Mindanao. I must say that we were all destined to meet everyone this way. Another opportunity came and we grabbed it immediately. 

We found generous partners who will sponsor the prizes for our Kadtabanga Saguna: Arts Competition which is an on-going initiative to showcase the creativity of the Maguindanaoans in Poetry Writing, Poster and Collage Making in the comfort of their homes. We are overwhelmed with the number of entries we received and we will be announcing the results soon.

On behalf of our team in Saguna: Crafting Stories of Hope and Resilience, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude (walang halong echos) to the Kapit-Mindanao team and its partners for this opportunity. 

To everyone, thank you for doing what you do para sa bayan. Lez do this! (by Bolkiah Mamadsual  for Kapit-Mindanao)

The #SKLSeries (Share Ko Lang) aims to share stories of hope and inspiration written by the youth beneficiaries of Kapit-Mindanao themselves.

We’re raising P1 million for 20 communications all over Mindanao. Help us reach that goal! To donate, go to bit.ly/KapitDonate now!

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