by Kazzandra Ysabel Baysa
Yakap. Hug. Abrazo. Câlin. Yǒngbào. Poong. Aob.
Different words that have one meaning. To wrap your limbs around the fragile figure you wish to show affection to. To be the sun that lets another bask in your heat, to be the campfire of reassurance that lights up when the night is pitch black.
But yakap is not just physical affection for the young Filipino citizens in Muntinlupa. Yakap is not just a form of love nor a form of comfort and consolation.
Yakap is greeting a new culture, a welcoming embrace to celebrate a different lifestyle, a different religion, a different race. Yakap is a step forward that informs the youth, an insight that empowered those that are the community’s future.
YAKAP is Youth Advocacy and Knowledge Access Program on Education for Global Citizenship, and with Mrs. Kristine Joan Da Barredo’s warm arms, the youth of Muntinlupa will know the love in a hug through different cultures and languages.
YAKAP: A new trend in Muntinlupa
“In implementing and sustaining the SDGs, we could tap the youth as the frontliners of change. They are the critical thinkers, innovators, change-makers, communicators and active leaders in transforming the world,” said Mrs. Barredo, a Master Teacher I at Tunasan Elementary School (TES), as she introduced her Re-Entry Application Project at DepEd-Muntinlupa.
Project YAKAP aimed to inform both students and teachers in Muntinlupa City about global citizenship, integrating Global Citizenship Education (GCED) in all domains of learning to stimulate their participation in other projects that are dedicated to issues, both local and global.
But the tree did not immediately bear fruit. Having prepared three target milestones as her outline, Mrs. Barredo prepared her tools and grew her tree through each step.
The project started on July 29, 2019 and ended on January 31, 2020, taking up six months of hardwork, dedication, and passion.
And after all the rain and the sunshine, her project flowered, molding many citizens through her program, a fruitful outcome of Mrs. Barredo’s participation in the Korea-Philippines Teacher Exchange Programme 2019.
Allocating at least two months per milestone, Mrs. Barredo used her time wisely, immediately involving lead teachers, head teachers, and supervisors within her school as she worked on fulfilling her first milestone.
From July to August of 2019, Mrs. Barredo focused on accomplishing her action steps, introducing Project YAKAP to the Science coordinators and teachers in Muntinlupa during the Division Learning Action Cell held on August 13, 2019.
To further promote her advocacy, Mrs. Barredo shared during the session how GCED could be integrated in Science teaching through various strategies such as content-based instruction and project-based learning.
She also created a facebook page named Project YAKAP last August 14, 2019, a page not only open to teacher implementers but also to students and other citizens regardless of race, age and gender (READ: YAKAP Project)
With 243 likes and 245 followers, the said page is still actively sharing posts relevant to global citizenship, awareness, and responsibility, it also provided an email address and means of contact in case some viewers would like to help or participate in her non-profit organization.
With the seed prepared and planted, Mrs. Barredo took more steps forward, and through the rough rainy days and the fierce blazing sun, the seed soon grew to be a sapling readying itself to provide knowledge for those whose eyes are still veiled.
Rays and rains
With Project YAKAP ready to take on bigger challenges, the next months of August 2019 to January 2020 was dedicated to forming partnerships not just within the school, but also with the LGU and youth sectors.
Spearheaded by Mrs. Barredo, YAKAP initiated an alliance with the Local Government Unit of Muntinlupa through the Youth Affairs and Sports Development Office (YASDO) headed by Mrs. Cynthia Viacrusis, who was a former teacher of Mrs. Barredo.
YASDO, together with YAKAP, conducted the First Muntinlupa Youth Convention with the theme Muntinlupa Youth: Aware and Involved on August 14, 2019 at the East Wing, Muntinlupa Sports Center.
200 youth leaders from school-led, community, and faith-based organizations, along with Sangguniang Kabataan, took part in the activity and involved themselves in their first step to becoming active citizens.
“Citizenship is a chance to make a difference to the place where you belong,” Barredo said in her speech at the convention, urging the participants to shift to active roles as citizens of one global community.
Mrs. Barredo also partook in the Muntinlupa Ten Outstanding Youth Organization and Leaders on December 7, 2019 to recognize the contributions of young people to achieving global development goals.
The activity showcased the works of the youth organizations from different sectors that led initiatives ranging from poverty alleviation, health, education, environment, and active citizenship, which according to Barredo also served to inspire other young people to take action in their communities.
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader,” Barredo said quoting Dolly Parton, in her FB post dedicated to the concluded activity.
The citizens of Muntinlupa were waking up now, and with one last step to go, Mrs. Barredo taught her people how to open their arms to a new culture ahead of them.
The fruitful journey
With only a few months remaining, YAKAP boasted the third milestone in its project through the partnership with the Indonesian Education and Culture Attaché Office (IEXAO) headed by Dr. Lili Nurlaili.
The IEXAO, carried out the BATIK (Bridging Arts and Culture through Instructional Knowledge) workshop to 100 students of TES on January 6, 2020 at the TES Learning Resource Center to introduce and promote Indonesian culture to the Filipino community.
Not only did the young students learn Indonesia’s culture through the workshop, it also opened their minds to the world’s different colors.
And thus the sapling grew steadily, its thin branches becoming thick trunks. Its leaves were spreading out, providing shade from the harsh rays of discrimination, and protection from the sick-inducing raindrops of misinformation.
Alas, it was ready to bear the fruit of a hard earned labor.
With the first three milestones complete, the first fruit bore new seeds to be planted. And from then came the fourth milestone. Project YAKAP culminated its activities, focusing on the GCED integration in different learning areas.
Mrs. Barredo believed that the integration of global citizenship and the 21st century non-cognitive skills in the teaching and learning process would enable a system-wide change.
She further added that to be able to do this, TES needed to provide knowledge in sustainable development and global citizenship through exemplary teaching demonstrations helping students to actively participate in addressing contemporary issues be it economic, social, political or natural aspect.
As Project YAKAP ended, Mrs. Barredo thanked the TES teachers who actively participated and embraced the project with their significant expertise in different learning areas that led students to look in a wider perspective, to think deeper about social injustices and oppression and to combat extremism through constructive discourses.
Project YAKAP was but a mustard seed that Mrs. Barredo has planted. And now it has grown, a huge tree with the citizens of Muntinlupa underneath it. The tree now has fruits handed down to the youth.
The youth are the country’s hope, the youth shall pave the way through the flourishing global citizenship. This is Barredo’s belief, and through this, she successfully disseminated the importance of responsibility strengthened by GCED through global awareness. Through this, she emphasized the necessity of being involved, not only within your locality, but in this world we call home.