Bridging the Educational Gap in Pandan, Catanduanes

As part of our commitment to Quality Education, one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, TPEF conducted another activity in Catanduanes, Philippines.

TPEF Social Development Initiative (SDI) in Pandan, Catanduanes

When schools reopened in October during the pandemic, one of the challenges teachers faced was the massive number of learning modules that need to be printed. They needed bond papers and printers for the modular learning program. Hoping to bridge this gap, TORM Philippines Education Foundation sought ways to extend support to the public elementary schools in Pandan, Catanduanes.

However, travel restrictions during the COVID-19 outbreak stopped TPEF staff and volunteers to travel outside Manila. Hence, a collaboration between current TPEF scholars in Pandan was one of the best opportunities to implement Social Development Initiatives (SDI) program in the said rural area.

The road leading to the beneficiary schools during the ocular survey conducted by the scholars.

TPEF Scholars Ready to Assist

The six current scholars in Pandan, Catanduanes conducted an ocular survey of the schools in the municipality. They pinpointed four elementary public schools in four barangays to receive support. They coordinated with the School Heads and able to identify the most pressing needs of each school, which aimed to have reams of bond paper and printers needed to produce the materials needed. They were also in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies for the teacher’s daily protection while reporting to school and distributing the self-learning modules to the learners.

The scholars also assisted TPEF in the follow-up with the local School Heads about some requirements needed due to weak cell phone signal, slow internet connection and limited access from school and at home.

LGU Extended Support to TPEF and Scholars

During the delivery of the items from Virac, Catanduanes to the municipality of Pandan, the LGU, through the leadership of the Municipal Mayor, unexpectedly extended support to the TPEF scholars. He provided manpower in the carrying of boxes of supplies, checking, counting and segregation of supplies per school and provided one jeepney to carry all the donated items to the schools per barangay.

The assistance and support of the LGU provided ease to the scholars and School Heads as work has been done easily and completed on time despite heavy rains during that day. Donated supplies and equipment have been delivered to the barangays safely.

Distribution of Donated Items to Public Elementary Schools

Six scholars lead in distributing IT equipment (e.g., printers) and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Other supplies such as reusable face masks, face shields, bottles of disinfecting alcohol, digital thermal scanners, foot disinfectant mats with aluminum fabrication were also given as well as school materials to be used for student’s Self-Learning Module which lasted from December 2-4. The School Heads and teachers in Balogñonan Elementary School, San Isidro Elementary School, Baldoc Elementary School and Marambong Elementary School attended the event.

Appreciation by School Heads

“By donating essential ICT, and PPE equipment and school supplies, TORM Philippines Education Foundation has helped ease the burden of the teachers, especially now that we lack supplies and are facing challenges in the printing of the learning modules. We really need additional printer and bond papers. We thank TPEF and of course its scholars who did a great effort in mobilizing and communicating us despite their busy schedule. These scholars demonstrate their strength that is banded together to serve others. For TPEF, not only did it provide essential items to those schools in need, but this project also moved our hearts to support each other more in various aspects of life. You are indeed a blessing in our school’, said Ms. Angelita Frias, the School Head of San Isidro Elementary School. 

While another School Head Mr. Joel Datoon mentioned that, “It is not about making a donation, it is making a difference. The teaching force of Balogñonan Elementary School would like to express our deep gratitude for the generous donation you extended to our school and the desire to help us succeed in this venture, especially the learners.  I can say that you are one of the best foundations that I have ever known. Your donation is an amazing help, and it also shows what a big and kind heart you have. Please accept our heartfelt thank you.”

A total of 28 teachers and 575 learners in four elementary schools benefited this project.

Scholars carrying and checking the boxes of donated items during the delivery from the supplier.

This project would not be made possible without the initiatives and support of its current scholars in Pandan, Catanduanes. Thanks to John Philip Gan See, Maria Nache Buena, Eleazar Barro, Verna Rica Posada, Kent Trinidad, and John Ralph Rodriguez and one volunteer from the community Mr. Andrei Jul Baltazar who were with them for three days. Kudos to all of you for a job well-done.