Out of every 100 Filipino children, roughly 10 never enter a classroom at all. For every 100 pupils that enter first grade, only 42 will graduate high school. According the 2009 Pulse Asia report, 26% of all Filipinos have no formal education, or no more than elementary education. In a seemingly unavoidable situation, these children will grow up to join the ranks of the desperately poor.
Since the correlation between the lack of schooling and the degree of poverty is so strong, our objective here in the Phillipines is to encourage those who have enrolled their children that it’s worth the effort and expense needed to keep their children enrolled. We also know that besides attendance, the other great need in Filipino day cares is quality teaching materials and curriculums. To this end we organized the following event:
Eight a.m., June 18th: Our truck arrives at the covered basketball court, which through the course of the day will see over 1,300 people on its premises. This is the culmination of days and weeks of planning, preparation and hard work by friends, volunteers and companies who together have the goal of providing a better life and future to thousands of poor and underprivileged children here in the Philippines.
The scope of this phase of the project is to supply free educational materials to 1,000 children, and to give educational curricula to 15 day care centers catering to children between the ages of 3-5 years. Besides these basic goals we were also happy to provide free food and drinks to each child as well as free medical check-ups for those in need.
Thanks to Activated Ministries we are able to give a full set of “Feed My Lambs” memorization curriculums, “Early Bird” English language curriculums, and “Grandpa Jake” character building stories to each school.
Once our volunteers had unloaded all the materials from the trucks they set to work organizing and packing the materials, while Maria, Simon and Grace performed a short presentation using stories, pictures and songs about thankfulness and gratitude for all the children.
Then all the children along with their parents, lined up to receive Note books, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, pencil cases, scissors, rulers and crayons. Along with this we gave out snacks donated by Kraft and Liwayway. And since dental hygiene is so important we gave toothbrushes and toothpaste to each child as well. Then it was time for Doctora Tay to give medical checkups to about 80 of the children.
“Thank you”, “God bless you for your generosity”, “We will never forget your kindness”, “We’re so grateful to you for choosing our community”, were some of the phrases we heard over and over from the parents and teachers during the day. It was touching to see the gratitude and sincere appreciation shown by so many, even for the small amount of help we were bringing.
Since the number of children had been divided into morning and afternoon sessions, we used the time during the break to eat lunch with the teachers. Then Maria and Grace held an hour long how-to seminar where they explained the contents of each of the curriculums and gave some tips on how best to make use of the materials which were given. The teachers were very happy to receive these items and promised to make good use of them throughout the school year.
Then it was back to repeating the morning performance once again, the children and parents were so thankful and one day care presented us with a cute, lively, song and dance routine as well. Filipinos love to dance! By the end we were all pretty tired out, but there were still lots of smiles from all the 38 volunteers, 25 teachers and 10 Barangay (village) police, who said it was a great way to spend a weekend.