(SPOT.ph) Some athletes train day and night for an Olympic medal. Some to keep themselves fit. Some to make their families and friends proud. They dream big and work hard for it. But for the volunteer athletes of non-profit organization Edicute Incorporated, they run, bike, and swim for the dreams of Mangyan kids living in remote areas in Oriental Mindoro.
Edicute is “committed to promote education amongs Filipino indigenous peoples,” explained 37-year-old Jordana Queddeng-Cosme (a.k.a. Jordee), the organization’s Executive Director, in an exclusive interview with SPOT.ph after the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu last August 7.
Jordana Queddeng-Cosme of Edicute Incorporated
In 2011, she wanted to make her first full marathon “fruitful and memorable.” Thus, Run for Pencils was born as the first and principal project of the organization. It is a cause-oriented initiative where runners like them make use of their official race performances to collect pledges from supporters. "For example, 42 kilometers 'yong full marathon, tapos si Deng [her sister], magpe-pledge siya sa akin, 'Sige, magpe-pledge ako sa iyo ng P10 per kilometer.' Since natapos ko 'yong buong 42, after the race, magbibigay siya ng P420," Jordee cited as an example. They also have Bike for Pencils and Tri [Triathlon] for Pencils to encourage other sports enthusiasts to do the same. The collected funds for every race they join would be used to buy school supplies, food, and grocery packs for their outreach projects held twice a year: before school starts and during Christmas season. They also raised money in 2013 to support the construction of a water system in Sitio Gaang, Barangay Panaytayan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, where the absence of clean water has been a problem for years.
When asked why she chose to reach out to the Mangyans, Jordee narrated how she got into volunteer work in college. For her thesis, the Organizational Communication graduate from De La Salle University-Manila worked on a video of a student organization which helps out indigenous peoples (IPs). "Naisip ko, sila 'yong gawing beneficiary kasi limitado ang tulong na natatanggap nila," she said. Edicute has extended help to Aeta and Lumad communities as well.
Edicute volunteer athletes pose with Matteo Guidicelli
Their volunteers also live with their beneficiary families during visits. This gives them more time to know more about the Mangyans and issues that IP communities deal with. "Pag meron kang alam, if you're aware. Doon nagsisimula 'yong initiative mo e. Makakapag-isip ka.”
For Jordee, Deng, and their fellow volunteer athletes, triathlon isn’t just a sport. It’s a commitment to their fellow Filipinos.
How can you help? Donate, volunteer, or collaborate with Edicute Incorporated. Contact Deng Queddeng, Director for Fundraising & Initiative Development, through 0915-293-3850, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Facebook.