030116Mineth Tangi is an only child of Meraflor Tangi, a single parent. Currently a grade 10 student, she is one of the financially-challenged students/scholars of Philippine Science High School (Pisay) that Lao Foundation sponsored under the Godparent Program of the Philippine Science High School Foundation, Inc. (PSHSFI).

Mineth graduated valedictorian at Toro Elementary School and is consistently in the director’s list of Pisay. She is known as a smart and bright student in their neighborhood such that many ask for her help to tutor them. Her mother told us that Mineth would jokingly say “Mama, ginagawa na nila akong libro”. She proudly shared that one of the students that Mineth is tutoring graduated valedictorian at Pugad Lawin Elementary School!

When asked from whom Mineth inherited her intelligence, Ms. Meraflor said that she guides Mineth in her studies. She is an undergraduate of accountancy and had worked with several companies as office clerk and bookkeeper.

Several months ago Ms. Meraflor stopped working because of a heart condition after experiencing a mild stroke. Mineth’s allowance from her scholarship, PSHSFI assistance, LFI’s sponsorship, and income from tutoring students in their place currently provide for their house rental (about 15 sqm small), food sustenance, and school needs.

Instead of dragging Mineth and her mother down, these challenges drew them closer to God, to whom they source their strength, motivating Mineth to study harder and become better person every day. Mineth’s mother always tell her that poverty is not a hindrance if she wants to finish her education. Mineth wants to take up medicine in college, study and work abroad. They are very thankful because there are people who are God’s instruments in helping them. They are very grateful to PSHSFI for helping them defray some of the medical expenses.

Ms. Meraflor and Mineth are both active in their church activities. Mineth serves as lector and reader every Sunday and helps the church in paper works.

It is the “Mineths” in our communities that inspire LFI to reach out and do more. LFI believes that education is the effective vehicle to bring them out of poverty.

02261615 year-old Jhonel Ola is a Grade 10 student of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS or “Pisay”). As one of the financially-challenged students-scholars of Pisay, he is also a “scholar/sponsored student” of Lao Foundation under the Godparent Program of the Philippine Science High School Foundation, Inc. (PSHSFI). The Godparent Program of PSHSFI seeks to provide needy students-scholars of Pisay with financial assistance to help defray expenses for food, school materials, basic personal needs, and for activities to enhance their holistic development.

Jhonel perseveres in his studies despite challenging situations such as: that of living in a family with meager income as his father is a construction worker and mother has a small sari-sari store; and the constant threat of being evicted anytime in their temporary dwelling inside a compound owned by his father’s employer which had already been sold. On the walls of their small house we see several medals and framed certificates from various awards and achievements of Jhonel. Jhonel loves math and aspires to be an engineer someday. Aside from studying, he is also active in the choir of their church.

Jhonel is fortunate to have the strong support from his family especially from his mother whose dream is for him to become successful someday as she herself was not able to finish her studies. Jhonel brings packed lunch from home and P30 for snacks everyday. His transportation expense of P550 per week or P2,200 per month is also budgeted.

Aside from being a “scholar” of LFI, it is also fortunate that the family is a beneficiary of 4P’s (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) or the conditional cash transfer program of the government.

With Jhonel’s perseverance to finish his studies LFI is confident that Jhonel will take his family out of poverty in the near future.

021816Last February 16, 2016 Lao Foundation met with Fr. Carmelo A. Caluag, director for programs of Magna Anima Education System, Inc. and Ms. Thelma Co, principal of Cubao Elementary School to explore possible project.

Magna Anima Education System, Inc. (Magna) is a private sector social enterprise that specializes in training and formation services for educational institutions, private corporations, and communities. The company focuses on the enhancement of public school education in the Philippines by building caring communities in the schools they work with. Magna forms and nurtures partnerships with and for each public school it works with to attain the goals stated in its vision and mission. Such partnerships are with both the public and private sectors and inspired by an African proverb (“it takes a tribe to raise a child”), to paraphrase, it takes a community to educate and form its youth.

It thrives to inspire a renewal and transformation movement in our public schools that will lead to the building of caring communities in our schools, particularly the public schools, and forming mission-inspired teachers who will love their students into excellence.

What started as a leadership formation program for teachers, Magna Anima’s flagship program, the Master of Arts in Education, major in School Community Development (MAEd-SCD) is now in partnership with Lyceum of the Philippines.

Through donors and partners, teachers of sponsored school are given the chance to have a master’s degree which will subsequently give them the chance to be promoted and/or elevated to a higher salary grade level. But the most important aspect of the program is the transformation of the teachers in the way they care for their students towards excellence which in turn would transform the student and the school as a whole. The program also requires that the teacher under the program submits a development plan for his/her school and that it should be embraced by the school.

To ensure that there is no reason for the teacher not to be able to attend the class, there are on-site classes. Classes are held in the school where the teachers teach. Sometimes there are classes in the formation house of Magna Anima in Laguna but the teachers are provided with transportation and accommodation.

Because not all can cope with the academic requirements of the program, the course is designed such that the first two (2) semesters are formation courses and it serves to screen those who can push through with the program. Though some teachers may not be able to finish the master’s program, they know the framework of the program and they would be able to contribute fully to the transformation of the school.

They also have a Senior High School Program working together with DepEd and the local government unit of Quezon City. Magna Anima is set to introduce a senior high school program in partnership with ABS-CBN, BEREA, British Council and Phil Transmarine. This is to be implemented in selected schools. The courses are designed such that it is matched to job opportunities available.

020916Lao Foundation visited Dynamic Christian School of Technology Incorporated (DCST) at Marulas, Valenzuela last Friday, February 5, 2016 to explore possible partnership. DCST is a training institution established under the Philippine laws with Security & Exchange Commission No. 201108199. They are primarily engaged in the business of providing Technical Skills Training by offering Technical Vocational Courses. They provide advance knowledge, correct skills and right attitude through modular approached of learning enhancing competitiveness and marketability of their graduates for local and foreign employments.

DCST offers courses on SHIELDED METAL ARCWELDING (SMAW) NCII, ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE (EIM) NCII, BEAUTY CARE NCII, HAIRDRESSING NCII, and also DRESSMAKING NC II. They also provide values formation founded on Christian values with emphasis on submission to authority, honesty, and punctuality. For them developing the right attitude is one of the important qualification looked for by many companies aside from knowledge and skills.

Ms. Simma Lim Yang, president of DCST believes in empowering the poor and uplifting them from poverty by equipping them with knowledge, technical skills and right attitude to enable them to find good paying jobs that are in demand locally and globally. She hopes that with support of foundations like LFI in sponsoring the tuition fees of deserving poor youths, DCST would be able to reach more of their target beneficiaries in Valenzuela and Malabon where they operate.