literacy initiatives Basadours’call to volunteerism

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo December 01,2017 - 12:01 AM


As the country commemorated Bonifacio Day on Thursday, somewhere in Cebu City, a modern-day “revolution” was waged.

At the Cebu City Public Library (CCPL) and Information Center along Osmeña Boulevard, headquarters of a nongovernment organization (NGO) called Basadours Inc., people were called on to help in their battle against illiteracy.

Established in 2012 as a group of volunteer storytellers, the Basadours became the NGO Basadours Inc. registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission last July 2017.

It was a logical progression after five years of organizing and implementing literacy projects in Cebu and its neighboring towns and provinces in the Visayas.

In their continued fight against illiteracy, the NGO encouraged individuals and organizations to join community-based storytelling initiatives bearing in mind the best interest of children.

Basadours Executive Director Tara Rama hoped that more people will be part of the volunteers’ core group so that more children and parents can benefit from its literacy development initiatives.

An event called “Books, Basadours and Beyond: Conversation with the Basadours” was held yesterday, which featured talks on literacy, storytelling, community volunteerism and child protection.

It was also an apt culmination of National Children’s Month and National Reading Month.


Basadours founding member and librarian Bea Martinez explained how the NGO carries out literacy initiatives through storytelling sessions with children as well as storytelling workshops and talks on child protection with adults.

“Books carry with them a world of possibilities,” said Martinez.

With children now hooked on gadgets and with little or no time to play outside, Basadours promotes love of reading through storytelling activities.
To widen its impact, the group partners with private companies, media and civil society organizations.

This year, they forged partnerships with J Centre Mall and Cebu Daily News through Story Hours and Storython.

For the month of November, Basadours rolled out “Stories and More” in partnership with Unionbank of the Philippines and CCPL which included storytelling sessions with children, and talks on the importance of reading and child protection with parents.

The group also visited Taloot Central School in Argao, Cebu, for “Istorya-Basa sa Probinsya” with the Department of Education and USAID-funded program, Basa Pilipinas (Read Philippines) last November 28.

Lawyer Melvin Legaspi, chairperson of Basadours Inc., noted the need for organizations working with children to have a policy protecting the rights of children embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Legaspi emphasized the children’s right to survive, right to express and participate and right to education.


It was an afternoon of inspiring stories at the public library as one volunteer after the other shared various experiences that brought them to Basadours.

Jorly Maloloy-on, an independent filmmaker, shared that at the age of 13, he worked in a cockfighting farm, did odd jobs and also sold cigarettes to earn a living.

But instead of dwelling in poverty, Maloloy-on said he found answers to his dire condition by reading books.

Maloloy-on is now the NGO’s trustee and treasurer.

Nenita Fernandez, president of the Cebu City Volunteer Movement, said that Basadours gave her a deep understanding of genuine community service.
Eighteen-year-old Jercy Epili said she will apply to become a Basadour after hearing the talks.

“It’s heartwarming to know that there are organizations who push for the reading advocacy and that Cebu City has a public library we can visit to read and research,” said Epili, a third-year secondary education student at the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) majoring in English.

CCPL chief librarian Rosario Chua shared how strong the spirit of volunteerism and community service is in Cebu that it has made the library a relevant part of society, away from the threat of closure that hounded the institution in 2009.

“Those considered financially poor contribute their time and effort to make this library a living venue for learning,” Chua told an audience of more than 50 students and barangay-based volunteers.

“The volunteers, which include the Basadours, kept the library alive because of your heart to serve,” said Chua.

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TAGS: Basadours, call, initaitives, literacy, Volunteerism

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