The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), through its Educational Assistance Program, continues to assist disadvantaged children.

CSWDO Children’s Welfare and Youth Division Head Gilda Salvaña, during the I-Speak media forum held at the City Mayor’s Conference Room on Thursday, said that currently, the office assists a total of 3,239 elementary, high school, and college students for the school year 2022-2023.

“For 2022-2023 naa ta’y total nga 3,239 ang elementary is 236, ang high school 2645, and atong college nga 358. Again, a total of 3, 239 persons and a total budget of 6,000,709 pesos for one school year (For 2022-2023, we have a total of 3,239: elementary is 236, high school-2,645 and our college- 358. Again, a total of 3,239 and a total budget of Php 6,000,709 pesos for one school year),” she said.

She added that while they do not have data on how many were assisted since they started the program in 1996 as part of the devolved programs to their office, a total of 15 direct victims of the Sasa Bombing in the year 2003 graduated with the help of this program and are now professionals.

Salvaña said that the target of this program is to help disadvantaged youth, specifically out of youths who probably have nowhere to go if they cannot finish their studies. The children at risk, children in conflict with the law and children at the residential care facilities like Balay Dangupan- residential care for victims of abuse, Lingap Center for Mentally Challenged Children, and Bahay Pag-Asa are also beneficiaries of this program.

From the initial Php 300 assistance for elementary, Php 500 for high school and Php 2,500 for college when the program started, they were able to increase the amount to Php1,000 for elementary, Php 2,000 for high school, and Php5,000 per semester for college starting last year.

“Basic man gud pag enrollment walay pambayad ug para sa books, mga basic educational needs sa mga bata para sa enrollment so kadto siya ang purpose kung asa siya mapadulong atong limited financial assistance for our educational needs (It is basic upon enrollment that they do not have money to buy books, educational needs for the children during enrollment so that is the purpose, that is where our limited financial assistance for our educational needs goes),” Salvana said.

She added that to qualify, the student must have an interest to go to school and the guardians to have the willingness to support their education. The student must be a Dabawenyo, and only one student per family can avail of this program.

Social workers and direct service implementors conduct follow up on the children and parents. The parents are called for quarterly updating. The social worker checks if the parents are doing their roles and responsibility for their children. Since this is a financial program, they also ask for receipts from the parents.

She said that they urge compliance with the requirements because even how small this assistance is, it really has a huge impact on persons living in poverty. The graduates and professionals produced by this program are living proof of that.

“Isa siya ka living nato nga witness nga kagamay sa atong assistance pero ni-sustain ra gyud ang mga bata kay ang gamay man gud basta maampingan lang siya sa atong beneficiaries or clients dako gyud siya ug impact (They are a living witness that no matter how small our assistance is, it sustained our children because small things, as long as properly taken care of by our beneficiaries and clients, can really have a huge impact),” Salvaña said. CIO