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Project INAlalayan: Helping teenage parents fulfill their dreams

Teenage parents are vulnerable to various problems, be they physical or emotional. Teenage pregnancy is one of the threats to achieving a better future for the youth, who are considered the hope of the motherland.

In the lush municipality of Maitum in Sarangani Province, Frank Jeay Montebon gathered his fellow youth volunteers to organize the Charitable Maitum to help the poor and the vulnerable.

Montebon’s brainchild project under the Charitable Maitum is Project INAlalayan, which seeks to create a supportive environment for adolescent parents. The project includes counseling and the provision of livelihood opportunities to beneficiaries.

“I believe there is a need to help teenage parents instead of judging them. We need to have empathy towards them; we need to talk to them for us to know their side and their needs,” he said.

Aside from raising awareness about the effects of teen pregnancy, Monteboan emphasized that teenage parents need to be assisted so they can secure a brighter future to help themselves and their families.

At present, the project has 30 teenage parents from the barangays of Kiaga, Kalaong, and Mabay as beneficiaries of the project.

One of the beneficiaries is the family of Vanessa Merza, who was provided with corn seeds as a livelihood. “The assistance provided to us is very helpful. Our first harvest was 500 kilos, and it really helped us with our daily needs,” she said.

Aside from the agricultural seeds, the project also provides livestock for the beneficiaries’ livelihood.

Montebon said their group partners with different offices to ensure the sustainability of the project. One of their major partners is the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which provides counseling to teenage parents. Also, the Zuellig Family Foundation and Save the Children Philippines are their active partners, particularly during the first implementation of the project in 2021. At the local level, barangay health centers provide health and education interventions to teenage parents.

“We are having talks with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority because we want to tap them to provide livelihood and skills training to our teenage parents,” Montebon disclosed, adding that one of their goals is to partner with the provincial government of Sarangani to help teenage parents acquire scholarship grants.

Project INAlalayan is now being replicated in Malapatan, Sarangani, and is tagged as Project INAgapay.

Montebon is one of the nominees for this year’s Search for Outstanding Volunteers of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

His volunteer activities, particularly Project INAlalayan, relate to sustainable development goals numbers 1—no poverty, 3—good health and well-being, and 8—dangerous work and economic growth.

For him, volunteering is a noble act that transcends boundaries, bridges gaps, and transforms societies. (SJDM - PIA Region 12)

About the Author

Shahana Joy Duerme-Mangasar


Region 12

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