Fun for all ages at Christmas Bake Sale in aid of Bataan Kids Project
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A Christmas Bake Sale in aid of Bataan, Philippines Kids Project, started in Gozo this morning at The Duke Shopping Complex, Victoria.
Everyone joined in the fun – specially the children – of an informal Drum Jam with Peter Paul of the popular band Tribali, Eugene of the Gozo Drum Tribe and friends, and much more besides….
The event will continue tomorrow, Saturday, the 9th, from 9.30am-1.30pm at the Tigrija Palazz Shopping Complex, and from 5pm- 8pm in St. George’s Square. Then on Sunday, the 10th from 9am-1pm at the Arkadia Shopping Complex in Victoria.
The fundraising group tell the story of the project – they are a group of volunteers supporting a project in the Philippines. A Maltese priest from the Missionaries of St. Paul, Fr. Joseph Cremona, started building a community in the rural village of Bataan, where basic necessities are limited and a huge problem of drug abuse, child abuse and other social problems are growing.
Fr. Joe, started by building a formation centre for the youths with the scope of having a safe area for the kids to socialise. Fr. Joe also feeds these kids, some of them live there due to poor home and family situations, while others stay over for short periods of time.
The Gozo fundraising volunteers explained that additionally, some of the kids will not find any food when they get home which was resulting in a lot of health issues, malnutrition, under weight problems, poor immune system and more, so Fr. Joe decided to start feeding them at the centre.
They said that the community continued to grow and now there are 100+ kids between the age of 5 and 23. Thanks to several Maltese volunteers who visit Bataan to help the community, a music project was started which eventually developed into an Orchestra.
The aim was to give the children a purpose, a talent to work on and to provide an initiative rather than wasting their time running in the streets.
Several musicians from Malta are currently giving weekly Skype lessons to these children. Instruments are mostly donated from Malta and Australia.
In the meantime, some youths also became interested in pursuing their studies in music. Families can’t afford to pay for tuition fees so the children end up without any opportunities whatsoever.
The group added that “Fr. Joe, has also been sponsoring several youths for University, some for Music, others for Engineering, teaching and more. Due to the lack of opportunities in Bataan, some had to move to Manila city to study, and this continued to add to the financial burden.”
They concluded by saying that “our intention as a group is to support this project. Through the help of Fr. Joe, these kids are given opportunities under a much safer roof; this is all done by means of donations as there isn’t a stable income providing financial stability.”
Photographs by Michael Bajada