How does an organization rewrite the future of over 3,500 public elementary students in just one day?
If you visit the schools of Kabubuhayan Elementary School, Taytay-Malaya Elementary School, Crisanto-Guysayko Elementary School, and Yukos Elementary School in Nagcarlan, Laguna, a year ago, you would not find any school library. There would only be four seemingly abandoned rooms filled with rusty chairs, piles of outdated reading and reference materials, and dirty walls.
ELEMENTARY school students from Laguna enjoy the books and materials provided by AHON Foundation.
Nonetheless, over a year of hard work by the parents, teachers, and other members of the community, they were able to turn these rooms into child-friendly learning resource centers which will now serve as their libraries.
They finally reaped the fruits of their labor when this January, the Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation distributed P2 million worth of new reference books in the four schools. Last January 22, these four newly refurbished libraries were opened to the students of Kabubuhayan Elementary School. The ceremony was attended by local government officials led by Mayor Nelson Usuna and Vice Mayor Lourdes Arcasetas; the principals of the beneficiary schools, Cresencia D. Coronado (Taytay-Malaya ES), Elisa M. Arban (CGMES), Ramona C. Basa (Kabubuhayan ES), and Dr. Gregoria Bueno-Gutierrez (Yukos ES), Hector O. Tagaysay, AHON Foundation chairman; Harvey Keh, AHON Foundation executive director; and Councilor Amie Malabag-Hernandez, an AHON Foundation volunteer and Kaya Natin! Movement Core Group member who initiated this project; the head of the Parents and Teachers Association; and barangay officials.
“Hindi lahat ng nilalapitan namin ay pumapayag na makipag-partner sa amin kung kaya’t kami’y nagpapasalamat sa inyo. Nagbibigay kami ng mga libro to level the playing field between public elementary students and those in the private schools at kahit high tech na kayo, dapat huwag masyado kasi sa libro talaga kayo matututo. Sabi nga ni Bill Gates, ‘Of course I will give my children computers but I will give them books first,’” said Tagaysay.
For their part, Kabubuhayan Elementary School principal Ramona Basa said, “This is a dream come true for all of us. Due to our limited resources, we never thought that we would be able to provide these kinds of wonderful books for our students but because of the generosity of AHON Foundation, we now have a library that can help our students become at par with the best students of our country. Maraming salamat sa AHON Foundation at kay Councilor Amie Malabag-Hernandez sa malaking biyaya na ibinigay niyo sa aming lahat. Hindi namin ito malilimutan.”
The government officials, who played a very important role in this project, were also given the chance to speak their mind. Hernandez was thankful to the people of Nagcarlan for believing in her programs and the work she does as a councilor. She and Arcasetas were the ones who helped AHON Foundation identify the partner schools and gather resources for the renovation of the libraries. Mayor Osuna commended the two for their effort, to make the project possible. He also mentioned that they will try their best to approach other private companies and foundations to also help improve the education system of their town.
With the new books nestled in their libraries, over 3,500 students will now have a better chance of attaining their goals and ambitions for a brighter future. They are no longer left with a tomorrow of scarce learning bounded by dilapidated and outdated reading resources but one that is full of limitless possibilities as they explore new horizons through the pages of the books that they will be reading. For these students and their teachers, this is certainly a great way to start the year.
(For your queries and partnership concerns, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (02) 433-1440.)
AHON article featured on the Manila Bulletin last February 2, 2014.