Sharing the Gift of Joy with the Children | Jan 12, 2011

In 2001 the Silsilah Dialogue Movement started the practice of sharing joy and happiness during the Christmas season with the

children of less-privileged families living in the areas surrounding Harmony Village. Over the years this has become a yearly tradition. Thus on December 28, 2010 some 500 chosen children from families of different faith affiliations in the communities of Maasin, Karagasan, Sinunuc and the Badjao community came together in Harmony Village in a half-day fun-filled activity called “Alay Kasiyahan sa Kabataan Tungo sa Kapayapaan” (A Joy Offering to the Youth for the Attainment of Peace).

The annual event was spearheaded by members of the Young Professionals for Dialogue and Peace (YPDP) who organized the event to provide fun, fellowship, previously-owned clothes and toys to the kids. The YPDP members solicited the toys and clothing for the kids and acted as caring older brothers/sisters to them during the gathering.

Other individuals, friends of Silsilah, graced the activity. Noted with great appreciation was the presence of Mr. Charlie Sebastian and family, Fr. Adrian U. Barcelo of St. Joseph Parish Church and members of the Filipino-Chinese Catholic Youth of St. Joseph Parish. The young people of St. Joseph Parish themselves prepared the snacks which were served to the children.

It was not simply a day for fun and sharing but also an occasion to awaken in the children concepts of peace through creative games and presentations. Entertainment was provided through songs and dances performed by SilPeace Youth members. The teachers of Silsilah kindergarten and elementary schools also provided assistance

in facilitating the various activities for the event.

Silsilah firmly believes that seeds of dialogue when planted in young minds will make children living bridges of dialogue and peace. In its kindergarten and elementary schools Silsilah gives special attention to the values that promote peace education and nurture the minds and hearts of children towards dialogue. This special thrust of Silsilah which other schools can adopt is called “Tulay-Bata for Dialogue and Peace”.

Fr. Barcelo, in his short message, thanked those who in one way or the other gave their time and effort in sharing their blessings with the children and to Silsilah for coming up with this yearly activity. Truly, those who receive are not the only ones enriched. Just as blessed, perhaps even more so, are those who give.

The activity ended with the singing of the Harmony Prayer.  Seeing the smile in the faces of the children,   all those involved in making December 28, 2010 the memorable day it was realized that behind those innocent smiles and the sparkling eyes   lies the hope for peace.

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