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Protecting Mother Earth-Buklod ng Kabataan

BWB recently awarded a $500 grant toward the disaster risk reduction activities of youth activists in the Philippines. You are invited to volunteer or donate to support this project’s continued success.

We are teenagers who live in a high-risk area here in Banaba San Mateo, Rizal Philippines.

Why are we high-risk area? It’s because there are two fault lines near Banaba, the west and east valley fault line and we are also in a water catch basin area. These factors make us particularly vulnerable to floods, erosion and earthquakes.

For these reasons, Buklod Tao – a people’s organization – was started and has been working for community development in Banaba since 1994. When some members of Buklod Tao wanted to include their children in the community development our youth group was started! The youth organization was created so that there will be members of the community who can continue to raise awareness about the environment and to protect and save the community of Banaba.

When we started way back in 2004 we didn’t have an official name. Finally, in 2008, the ever brilliant and Founder/President of Buklod Tao, Mr. Manuel “ka-Noli” Abinales, named us “Buklod ng Kabataan”. Buklod ng Kabataan means youth bonded together. Our group believes in youth activism to built a more secure future for Banaba.

The Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), a longtime partner of Buklod Tao and Buklod ng Kabataan, was the first organization to give Buklod ng Kabataan a project of our own. It was called the MOVE project, which stands for Mobilization to Offset Vulnerabilities for Empowerment. The MOVE project ran for three years from 2007 to 2010. When it was finished, one of the researchers from CDP thought she could help us share awareness about the environment through performances. That researcher helped us get involved in our first theatre workshop, which was run by the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA).

In 2009 we took part in two theatre workshops: the first run by PETA and the second run by Harlequin Theatre Guild. These workshops gave us our first taste of acting, singing and dancing and inspired us to use performance to raise awareness about the environment as well as raise funds of our own, so that we do not have to rely solely upon Buklod Tao. That’s why we show our love and respect for our community and environment through performing.

This spring we decided to have a theatre workshop to share what we had learned during workshops that we had taken part in. To make our workshop special, we combined what we learned from PETA and the Harelquin Theatre Guild to create our own, unique, Summer Immersion Theatre Arts Workshop. It ran one week, but we planned for almost a month in advance. European Disaster Volunteers (EDV) and PETA helped us in planning and, of course, Burners without Borders (BWB) and EDV worked in coordination to fund our workshop. EDV and their volunteers helped us put together the presentations we needed and supported us when others doubted us. All of them help us to turn our dream into reality.


We learned a lot in the workshop. We learned to have a lot of patience. We learned that its hard to handle the participants – other teenagers, like us – and we learned to always be ready with another activity. We had to be cooperative always and to work together to make each day successful.

In the future we´d like to support reading centres and environmental activities for at risk young people. We’d love to have you be a part of our work. You could come here and volunteer with us to make our future projects a big success! We’d love to meet you! 

-Youth Leaders of Buklod Ng Kabtataan


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