JARO, Leyte, Aug. 25 (PNA) -– Soldiers of 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) will continue to carry out its “bayanihan” (heroism) project in remote villages of Leyte until December.

The bayanihan team concluded last week their mission for the month of August, benefiting more than 700 school children from poor families in far-flung villages of Rubas in Jaro town and Tinaguban in Carigara town.

The Army delivered school supplies, shoes and toys donated by government troopers and their partner, SM Foundation.

In September, the team will be moving to upland villages of Kanangga and San Isidro in Leyte.

Rubas and Tinaguban villages were one of those remote villages of Jaro and Carigara towns, which used to be under the control of the New People’s Army.

The nearest market is a four hours walk through a bumpy road. Most parents are farmers and had no sufficient income to provide basic needs for their children.

However, though it’s hard for children to study without books, paper, and pencils, still they gather every day at school, driven by their desire to learn.

Marites Dador, 41, mother of Marvin, a first grade learner of Rubas Elementary School, struggles hard daily to bring food to the table.

“It has been my desire to buy him one, but I never got the chance to do so. I could not even afford to buy a pair of shoes. Our money is only good for our daily food,” Marites Dador said.

A big smile was seen on Grade 6 learner Juliemar Elises’s face when he opened a bag full of school supplies and when he tried to wear a pair of shoes for the first time.

Juliemar comes from large family. His father’s meager income from farming bars them from buying non-food needs.

Lt. Col. Reymondo A. Delgado, commander of 19th IB, recalled the pride and excitement in the children faces when they received their school supplies, shoes and toys.

“They reacted like kids receiving gifts on Christmas Day. These kids don’t have sets of clothes and with no pair of shoes for years and to have one is really an amazing gift,” Delgado said. (PNA)