A few hundred kilometers away from Marawi City, where the battle to defeat ISIS in the Philippines has just come to an end, is Zamboanga. A highly urbanized city where there has been a recent rise in the number of out-of-school youth, Zamboanga has become a prime target for Islamic State (IS) recruitment. In just the past couple months, more than 50 men have been arrested in the Zamboanga Peninsula for having direct ties to ISIS and its Filipino affiliates.
To counter these recruitment efforts, a US civil affairs team in Zamboanga is working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to bolster student enrollment, improve educational outcomes, and teach counter-extremism lessons to at-risk area youth. However, several schools in the district are little more than empty rooms lacking chairs, tables, and other necessities for an active learning environment. If they even attend school at all, some students have no choice but to sit on the floor. In order to fill this urgent need, the US team reached out to Spirit of America.
Providing tables and chairs to seven area schools will significantly improve the learning environment for these vulnerable students. This donation will help to highlight the local government’s commitment to the population, to support continued collaboration with the US team, and to enhance the educational experience of these underprivileged and at-risk youth.
Your generosity and support will enable us to provide this much needed assistance to students in Zamboanga, and those who seek to protect them from violent extremism and radicalization.