James wakes before his older siblings could get up. He sets off his day by serving as the alarm for his family. As early as seven, he’s ready for another day in school.

James Jerald Balanes of Minalabac, Camarines Sur, is known for his punctuality at school. This was something new to his parents because of his zest to attend his class was something noteworthy.

His mother, Jennlyn, said that after her son transferred to their new classroom last September 2012, it seems that James became more interested and engaged.

“Siya na ang nagsasabi sakin na paliguan at bihisan na siya. Ayaw niya kasing umabsent kahit isang araw [He always reminds me to bathe and dress him up for school. He doesn’t want to be absent even for a single day],” Jennlyn said.

At the age of four, James has developed a strong sense of responsibility. Gina Cilot, James’ teacher, said that he regularly comes to school 30 minutes before their session begins.

“He comes to school early. He would even join his classmate’s parents if his mother is not able to bring him to school,” Gina added.

The advent of the new daycare center to Barangay Irayang Solong paved way for more opportunities not only for James but also for other preschoolers. She said that it is accessible and conducive for learning emphasizing that its location is safe for the pupils to play.

“Hindi na ako nagaalala para kay James kasi alam ko na ligtas siya dun. Malawak ang playground at malinis ang kapaligiran. [I don’t need to worry about James because I know it’s a safe place for him to stay. Its surroundings is clean and there’s a vast area for their playground],”Jenlynn said.

James said that it’s better to study in their new daycare center because it is beautiful. He enjoys the wooden tables and chairs with polychromatic paint and looks forward to the daily feeding program at school.

The daycare center in Irayang Solong is one of the subprojects of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS). It is a multi-funded project of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) covering all provinces in Bicol region.

Kalahi-CIDSS is a community-driven development (CDD) project in the Philippines which strongly advocates the involvement of local communities in the design and implementation of development projects to address the issue of poverty in the country. It aims to improve local governance by employing the participation of the people in the communities in the development process.

Community residents consensually decide on what type of poverty-reduction projects they prioritize for funding based from the collective analysis of their needs. Community proposals can vary from public goods/access projects, enterprise or livelihood projects or human development projects.

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the core programs of DSWD along with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). The convergence of the three programs is aimed for a greater impact in reducing poverty.

The Balanes family is part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, three of Jennlyn’s four children are beneficiaries of the said program.

“Laking pasasalamat naming mga magulang nagkaroong ng ganitong mga proyekto. Isa ang aming barangay na nagkaroon ng magandang proyekto para sa mga bata. Malaki ang tulong ng mga proyektong ito [We are very thankful that we have these kinds of projects which cater to the needs of our children. These projects provide a big help,” Jennlyn said.###jmarbella

James Jerald Balanes (right), four years old, is one of the students of the newly constructed Kalahi-CIDSS daycare center in Barangay Irayang Solong, Camarines Sur.
James Jerald Balanes (right), four years old, is one of the students of the newly constructed Kalahi-CIDSS daycare center in Barangay Irayang Solong, Camarines Sur.