"I was given another chance to change my life" - scholar
In 2015, Lao Foundation gave educational assistance to 20 Dualtech scholars from Camarines Norte, Abra, and Ilocos Sur. After this batch, LFI added support to 20 scholars of Romblon, Surigao Del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya, Cebu and Zambales.
Included as beneficiaries of LFI Scholarships grants is the first batch from Surigao City whose families were affected by the recent earthquake in March 2017. The six scholars were recruited through the help of the coordinators from Saint Paul University.
Jomar Estrella was raised in a family for which fishing is the only source of income. His older brothers gave up their studies to send Jomar to high school. He said "Hindi kasya ang kita ng aking tatay para pag-aralin kaming magkakapatid. Noong nakapagtapos ng high scholl, nagpasalamat ako ng sobra sa aking mga kapatid." After high school, he knew too well that college education was not an option. Immediately, Jomar worked as a janitor in Saint Paul University. After few weeks, the school told him about the scholarship program of Dualtech Center.
Another scholar, Ronito Ligad Jr., stopped in 3rd year high scholl. At a young age, he worked as farmer and a helper in a construction site. He set aside secondary education to preserve income for his parents and for the tuition of his younger siblings. His cousin told him about Alternative Learning System (ALS). He enrolled without informing his parents who only knew he was only working to support the family. He said "Mahirap lang po kami Noong nalaman ng magulang ko na nakapagtapos ako sa ALS, natuwa po sila sa akin." His mother heard about Dualtech in Saint Paul University and referred his son to be among the scholars.
These two scholars have similar stories with other Dulatech scholars supported by Lao Foundation Inc. Through the scholarship grants, scholars find hope to persue further education. Ronito said, "Nagpapasalamat ako sa Lao Foundation na sinuportahan kami sa pag-aaral. Dito na matutupad ang pangarap ko na mai-ahon ang aking magulang sa hirap."
The first batch of LFI scholars will complete the training program in July 2017. These scholars have a common goal - to help their family.
Lao Foundation, Inc. (LFI) grew out of the informal outreaches of D&L Industries' holdings and member companies in the communities where it operate. LFI aspires to make a dent in the lives of the poor Filipinos as its way of sharing and giving back. The foundation engages in a diversity of programs and services to make significant impact in the lives of its beneficiaries through education, values formation and livelihood programs.
Ref: Dualtech's July 2016- March 2017 Newsletter
Lao Foundation had the opportunity to meet MovEd’s founder Alexandra Eduque and Executive Director Ma. Theresa ‘Bukay’ Lagman during a visit to its Pasig school on October 12, 2016. Lao Foundation was able to learn about the MovEd Learning Lab Program by observing one class in Barangay Maybunga, Pasig. The MovEd Learning Lab Program caters to children aged 3-4.11 years, and provides quality preschool education to underserved communities in the Philippines.
Working with Local Government Units (LGUs) and local communities, MovEd focuses on young children’s safety, health and education. Each classroom is barangay-based, and observes a maximum number of 25 students, which contrasts greatly from public schools’ standard number of 50-60 students per class. This is to guarantee that each child’s holistic needs can be met and addressed fully by their class teacher.
MovEd’s curriculum and rigorous teacher training process is one to be noted. The curriculum it provides to pre-school children includes academic and interactive lessons, which prepare them fully for the challenges of DepEd’s K-12 curriculum. MovEd teachers are trained in the Alphabasa course, and spend 4-6 weeks as On-the-Job Trainees in Chinese International School Manila.
In addition to the quality education that MovEd provides to its students, it also ensures that strict monitoring is carried out throughout and after the process – in observing teachers in each of their classes, their current students’ holistic progress, as well as tracking their graduates.
The LFI team had a very enriching time during the visit, and noticed how these MovEd classes are able to address and develop children’s academic, social, emotional and personal skills. By providing early intervention and a unique pedagogy to marginalised communities, there is no doubt that these young children will be fully equipped with skills to embark upon DepEd’s K-12 curriculum.
Lao Foundation inked 3 Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) on September 22, 2016 with ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation (new partner-foundation), Philippine Science High School Foundation, and Maria Lena Buhay Memorial Foundation (both current partner-foundations). The projects included in these MOAs will fall under LFI’s educational assistance/scholarship program.
A welcome addition to the list of LFI partners is ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. (ALKFI), who visited Lao Foundation last March 10, 2016. The MOA assists, for school year 2016-17, 6 scholars of ALKFI’s Bantay Bata 163 Program under the “Bantay Edukasyon Scholarship Project”. This is an educational intervention to bring back hope for child abuse survivors.
Lao Foundation also renewed its MOA with Philippine Science High School Foundation, Inc. (PSHSFI) for school year 2016-2017, to assist 20 in-need scholars under PSHSFI’s Godparent program.
Likewise, LFI has also worked with Maria Lena Buhay Memorial Foundation Inc. (MLBMFI), an oral school for the hearing impaired, in assisting one indigent student. This month, LFI was able to refer 4 new students from Bagumbayan Elementary School and Camp Crame Elementary School. These children were assessed to be in need of therapy for their speech difficulty. However, due to their families’ financial situation, they could not avail of the intervention needed.
LFI is honored to be working with these partners.
On September 23, 2016, the board of trustees of Sta. Teresita of Miarayon Community School (STMCS) headed by their founding chairman Fr. Kit Bautista SJ, Ma. Resurreccion Alejo and Teresa Quijano visited Lao Foundation. The meeting was to discuss their proposal for the assistance to the elementary education of school children in the Lumad community in Brgy. Miarayon, Talakag, Bukidnon.
STMCS is looking for partners for their school operation, feeding program, college scholarship, and livelihood potential. By improving the state of basic education of the community, STMCS hopes that the cycle of poverty-ignorance-disempowerment would somehow be reversed as an educated community recognizes the expanse of choices that are available to them and leads them to claim their rights and exercise self-determination.
On September 28, 2016, LFI visited Bukid Kabataan Center of St. Mary Euphrasia Integrated Development Foundation (SMEIDF) located in Gen. Trias, Cavite, and met with Sr. Mary Lea Comia, RGS, Program Coordinator, Sr. Rose Tapia, RGS, Bookeeper, Sr. Arabella Balingao, RGS, Administrative and Finance Officer to gather more information regarding the proposal they submitted to LFI.
The center caters to children survivors of street life and multiple abuses. Originally a program of Caritas Manila, the management of the center was transferred to Religious of Good Shepherd in 2004 due to the restructuring of Caritas Manila. With the full transfer of management to RGS, the funding from Caritas Manila ceased. The center currently caters to 34 girls (28 elementary and 6 high school). The elementary students attend school in the multi-level elementary school inside the center along with 20 indigent children from the surrounding community that is also provided with educational assistance in the form of (uniform, school supplies, snacks and lunch). Their high school students attend school outside the center (2 are scholars at Lyceum of the Philippines University and 4 are in public schools). The children stays in the center for 2 to 3 years while undergoing psychotherapy and while it is not yet safe for them to be reintegrated back to their families.
On September 29, 2016, LFI went to Our Lady of Lujan Mission Center – Mercy Home for Girls in Caloocan City and met with M. Maria De Cristo Pobre, SSVM, Center Directress/Local Superior, Sr. Maria Soledad ng Porta Vaga, SSVM, St. Maria Talang Maliwanag, SSVM.
The Center provides long term residential care and educational assistance to impoverished and socially at risk children from the communities. They are either referred by the parish priest or by the Missionary of Charity in Tayuman and Samar. While at the center, the girls are provided with education from elementary to college and they stay in the center until they are employed.
LFI is looking forward to assist in furthering the missions of these noteworthy groups.
Lao Foundation conducted field visits to two partner-foundations, Don Bosco Youth Center Tondo and Purple Centers Foundation, last September 21, 2016. Visitations are regularly done by LFI to partner-foundations to check the progress of LFI's projects with them, and to know what other support they might need.
LFI visited Don Bosco Youth Center Tondo, and got a chance to meet the current batch of scholars. Rev Rector/TVET Director Fr. Gaudencio Carandang JR., sdb and Project Coordinator Mr. Jay Joaquino were pleased to report that all the scholars are performing well academically, behaviorally and in extra-curricular activities. However, they are currently having difficulty in finding teachers that would commit to teach in the center.
LFI had a chance to get to know the scholars. Some of them shared stories of how Don Bosco Tondo has brought a positive change into their lives, and shared how they have all grown personally, spiritually, and academically; some of them are amongst the top of their class. They wrote heartfelt thank you letters, and expressed gratitude to Lao Foundation for supporting them in their studies.
Likewise, LFI also visited Purple Centers Foundation. Development Communications Officer Ms. Amor Reyes gladly toured Erika Lao and Sheena Fidelson around the school. Purple Centers Foundation has faced quite a few opportunities and challenges since the rebranding from its previously known name, Philippine Christian Foundation. However, they have done very well in adapting to recent changes. They continue to offer projects to help their community further.
With the collaborative efforts between these partner-foundations, LFI is very positive in its hopes to achieve its vision in empowering people through education and values formation.