Left: Julius, an eight-year-old former slum kid, with his illustrations for the book.
A local mission group has produced a Christmas story book for children living in the slums in the Philippines.
Acts29 produced Ang Kwento ng Pasko or The Story of Christmas in both Filipino and English to share the Nativity story with kids lacking access to storybooks or the Bible.
Acts29 coordinator Sherlyn Khong said her group could not find books on the Christmas story in Filipino after contacting various Christian publishing houses in the Philippines.
“We felt the kids would be able to relate better to books in their own language so we decided to write our own book,” said Ms Khong.
The books are to be a present to the 350 children enrolled in Paaralang Pantao, a free non-formal school in Payatas, Quezon City, and Erap City, Montalban. The school prepares children for formal education.
The children themselves were directly involved in the project as they did the illustrations. They were asked to draw their favourite scene after the Christmas story was narrated to them.
The entire production process for the book, which started out as an idea in Advent 2010, took a few months, recounted Ms Khong.
The children “were so excited to be part of the project!” she recalled. “They want so much to contribute and help others. They want to do more book projects and they want to write their own book.”
Copies of the book will be sold in Singapore to raise funds for the group’s mission work in the Philippines.
More book projects could also be expected, said Ms Khong.
She said that acts29, which is dedicated to mission, evangelisation and the strengthening of faith, plans to register as an NGO in the Philippines next year.
A formation house, which accepts orphaned, abandoned children as well as those from single parent households from Payatas, began this year, said Ms Khong.
The kids enter a rehabilitation programme, are given faith formation and later enrolled in formal school.
Ms Khong estimates the cost of registering as an NGO, buying a plot of land and constructing a centre will amount to $160,000.
“So hopefully the books can help us raise some funds,” she added.
For more information on acts29, visit http://www.acts29mission.com
By Darren Boon