Kris Library Is One of Mindanao’s Best, Thanks to Diether Ocampo’s K.I.D.S. Foundation
The two-story Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library (Kris) could probably be one Mindanao’s best privately-owned libraries due its more than 5,000 collection of high-quality, hard-to find and rare books, the bulk of which was donated by the International School of Manila (IS) and where fees can go up to about a million (US $20,000++) per school year.
For this we thank actor and businessman Diether “Diet” Ocampo’s Kabataan Inyong Dapat Supportation (K.I.D.S) foundation for linking us up with IS officials who turned over to us 97 boxes of books and audio-visual materials in 2007.
The move proved to be a turning-point for us because up to then, we have been engaged in turning over books to school libraries or distributing it to poor Christian and Muslim kids in Zamboanga City. But then since starting this advocacy in 2001, we noted that giving books to libraries is not really a good idea because we always hear students complain that they cannot get their hands on our books because the librarians are unfriendly, are strict when they go in with wet or muddy feet (which is expected of children who live in the farms or the sea); or that they are always being castigated for being noisy.
In short, the books we donate end up not being read because the libraries are deemed unfriendly to students and there is really no clear effort on the part of the schools to let the children hang around in the libraries. Years after the donations, librarians even come out to me to say proudly that they have covered up the books and they have not been dirtied by the students and they do look brand-new. Of course, this declaration only breaks our hearts because our effort to make the books useful and make a difference in a poor child’s life had been in vain.
Public libraries are also closed early evenings and weekends when students use it the most.
Likewise, looking at the sets of books from IS and the thought that we have to break them up to individual students is equally heart-breaking. Giving it to them does not also guarantee that they will indeed read them or share them to neighbors.
Thus, we then realized that the IS books could be a sign from God/Allah for us to finally fulfil my long-time dream then to build a library and so build it we did on an inherited lot in Manicahan and using mahogany and gimelina trees I had the vision of planting years ago in my other properties in Zamboanga. Friends and clients from our legal public relations firm and car business then foot the bill for the rest of the construction work.
Now you see how the programs and advocacies of our A-Book-Saya Group (ABSG) and K.I.D.S. are so much intertwined. Apart from Diether who clearly has a heart for the poor Christian and Muslim kids in Mindanao, we are also truly indebted to the true engine of KIDS – its officers and volunteers led by Atty. Karina Tanega, Roxanne Oquendo and June Hamoy who hails from Basilan. The three ladies are the dedicated and indefatigable workers who built KIDS up from scratch and did all the dirty work and spade work to make KIDS the well-known and respected organization that it is today.
This year, KIDS and Kris are again embarking on a major tie-up as Diet chose Kris as one of the beneficiaries of the 2nd Diether Ocampo Celebrity Charity Golf Cup in Tagaytay Highlands on July 21, 2011. Please support this event which will help finance our plans to build a full-scale library in Quezon City; donate books or fill up libraries in poor communities in Rodriguez, Rizal; Zamboanga City; and Tungawan, Zamboanga del Sur.