Feb 11, 2014

As a new school year opens, AHON strives to open more libraries

Published June 2, 2013

Letters can form words. Words can form sentences. Sentences can form paragraphs. Combined paragraphs can form stories. Every story has its values. And these values are important in molding one's being. But, how can the Filipino people obtain these values thatare meant to develop them?
To answer the question, what they need is to develop their reading skill. Parents do establish a culture of reading in their children at an early age. They teach their children at home and eventually send them to school for further guidance. As Harvey Keh, executive director of Acts for Hope of the Nation (AHON) Foundation said, learning how to read starts from flipping a page in a book. But how can Filipino children learn if there aren't enough books to read?
There are at least 40,000 public elementary schools all over the country, but not all of them has a library-a conducive place where they can read and learn. Or worse, there are no available books for the children to read at all. The government has allotted a budget for this, but it's not enough to sustain the need. However, there are existing organizations in the community which aim to fill in the needs of the schools to achieve better education.
AHON Foundation, a corporate foundation of Filway Marketing, Inc. is one of these organizations who aim to provide a better education to young Filipinos. It believes that young people are the hope of this nation so it aims to mold their young minds by filling it with values and principles that will help in their development. This is made possible through book donations to fill in the empty shelves of school libraries, and ensuring that students are able to utilize it.
At present, AHON has opened 70 public school libraries all over the country that benefit over 100,000 students. To continue their advocacy, they aim to open 20 more libraries this year. AHON identifies their beneficiaries through a series of ocular inspections of schools endorsed by the Department of Education (DepEd).
Schools who submit their application forms after the first ocular inspection commit to a one-month challenge to improve their existing library. This challenge is designed for them to prepare, refurnish, and improve their libraries to a more child-friendly place of learning. It also seeks to develop a sense of responsibility among school teachers and staff, the community, and the students to maintain the order of the library.
The number of people working in AHON is not large as in other organizations. But it does not hinder them from reaching public elementary schools. With the help of volunteers and donors, they are able to provide deserving schools with books.
AHON is continuously looking for potential beneficiary schools, as well as willing individuals and institutions that may help them through donations.
If letters form words, words form sentence, sentences form paragraph, paragraphs form stories, and stories with values and principles; then an advocacy can lead to a decision to support, a decision can lead to action, and this action can lead to the fulfillment of a dream. In this case, it is a dream to enrich the minds of young Filipinos.
If a book bearing the values, principles, and knowledge that will help develop not only the individual but also the country is the dream of every Filipino child, isn't the ability to give and be part of the fulfillment of this dream a privilege? Decide, act, take part, and together, let's fulfill this dream of the Filipino children.
For inquiries and donations, you can contact AHON Foundation at (02) 433-1440 or visit AHON Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ahonfoundation.

BY: Issa Paulmanal
(The author is a senior Development Communications student at the University of the Philippines-Los Banos.)

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