High school students at SWMHS promote change in the Philippines

Back to Bayan = Back to Community


Doris Lee, Editor

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

The Philippines is prominently known to be an Asian island country that consists of a plethora of beautiful beaches, thriving culture, and prosperous cities that any outsider would admire. Although this image is an accurate one, it does not tell the full story.

Outside of these popular metropolitan and tourist areas, there is an abundance of poverty-ridden villages. In fact, it is common to see shabby houses comprised of mismatched junk materials or utterly destroyed due to fallen trees; young children and families on the street with no shelter or nourishment to sustain themselves; and even leftover canoes and rafts that are their only form of transportation around the village during excessive flooding seasons.

Ysabelle DelaCruz and Doris Lee, juniors at Sayreville War Memorial High School and the co-founders of the charity in question, passionately state that “these issues have been going on for years. Yet, there are barely any articles that raise awareness about these important topics, which leaves the country neglected in its time of need.”

And with that revelation, the two mere high school students, in collaboration with the Missionary Families of Christ – Youth (MFC Youth) and the Sayreville Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapter, aspired to induce change and provide aid to those in need residing in the Philippines. Their synergistic efforts became known as Back to Bayan. Bayan means “community” in Tagalog, the language spoken in the Philippines.

Currently, Back to Bayan is scheduled to hold a fundraiser and promotional event on Sayreville Centennial Day on October 2, 2021 at Kennedy Park from noon to 7 p.m. There, community members will not only be informed about the cause, but they also will be able to make monetary donations, whether it be through loose change or purchasing caricature portraits that will be drawn on-site.

With the collection of money through Sayreville Centennial Day and other future fundraising endeavors, Back to Bayan will use these finances to create care packages consisting of daily necessities (soap, toothpaste, masks, hand sanitizer, and toothbrushes), canned food (spam, Vienna sausages, assorted chocolate, and mini beef ravioli), and school supplies (pencils and composition notebooks) to be sent to Barangay, the smallest district in the Philippines. As of right now, the charity’s goal is to send at least 40 care packages, which would take approximately $500.

To end off this mission statement, the co-founders of Back to Bayan wish to reach the minds of all ambitious young individuals that desire to make a change: “Just give back in whatever way you can. Because the more you give, the more you live.”


To support or learn more about this community service project, visit their website at https://back2bayan.wixsite.com/communitygiving and Instagram handle @back2bayan.