Early morning, on July 1, volunteer scholars, TPEF staff, teachers and several students hiked up and down the unpaved and potholed roads going to Sitio Upper Yunot. It is a remote area in Barangay Nasucob, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, and home to the Mangyan indigenous people. The two schools in the community is the second outreach project of the Scholars Alumni Association of TPEF (SAA-TPEF) this year, with the theme “Arawatan Para sa Kaayadan” (in their dialect) meaning “Tulong Tulong Sa Pag-Ahon.”
Carrying sacks and boxes of school kits, they headed to the Upper Yunot Extension School of San Roque National High School. The alumni group provided school kits and food to 91 high school students, and facilitated two workshops for Grades 9 and 10 students. Haydee Sarmiento, teacher-in-charge, profusely extended her thanks to the group, saying that the assistance is a big help for the students.
Shortly after lunch, they proceeded to the elementary school of Upper Yunot. Led by Head Teacher Hubert Hernandez, the school, with the parents and students, organized a welcome program for the alumni group and TPEF. “The school is very grateful that your group visited us, travelled long distance, and provided help to our students,” Hernandez said. Groups of children had song and dance presentations. Shekina Viloria, SAA-TPEF president and Rey Lebanto, vice president, gave messages, encouraging the children to study hard and follow their dreams. The group then distributed school kits to 162 students, and later, facilitated a feeding activity.
Volunteer alumni scholars for the community outreach project in Mindoro, aside from Viloria and Lebanto, included Mayflores Millagracia, Ray Anne Del Valle, Arvie Habay Habay, Teofilo Abing Jr., and Eon Mojica. The outreach was realized through the support of alumni scholars, staff of Torm Shipping Philippines, and friends of TPEF.