Once again, school is out for summer in the Philippines.
For this occasion, we’d like to take the time to reflect on the many achievements that we’ve managed to accomplish in the field of education throughout the last academic year and hope to continue and further develop by the time that enrollment starts again at the end of May.
Not surprisingly, Education is one of the most actively sort for assets in the Philippines with each and every single child highly desiring the opportunity to participate in mainstream education. For some families, this is more difficult than others as socioeconomic stress can often contribute to parents not being able to provide the necessary resources for their children to attend school. Without the capacity to go to school, children and families are stricken with the reality that there is little or no way for them to break free and escape the poverty cycle.
For this reason, our Child Sponsorship Program was developed to give children from low income families the opportunity to attend school by providing the basic resources such as school fees, school supplies and school uniforms thanks to the kind-hearted donations of international and local benefactors who make the personal commitment to sponsor a child in the Philippines. In addition, thanks to the unique structured support of international volunteers, VFV has been able to augment additional educational support through after-school tutorials and close mentoring, the results of which continue to astonish VFV staff.
When the program first started, we never dreamt that we would witness the achievements that we continue to see year in year out amongst the many lucky children enrolled on the program. In 2011, VFV was fortunate enough to produce 7 honors students, including 1 valedictorian, 8 high school achievers and 4 service award winners. This combined with the fact that we produced another 22 Elementary School graduates and a further 1 high school graduate is testimony to the close support of our international sponsors, local staff and volunteers.
Whilst the Child Sponsorship Program continues to strive to provide the best quality education for our children, it is by far not the only means that Volunteer for the Visayans continues to provide support to education in the Philippines.
For example VFV continues to offer a volunteer project for those English speaking international volunteers who want to teach in the Philippines. Over the course of the last academic year, VFV has managed to recruit a number of international volunteers who have augmented support to underfunded rural schools where it is often common place to see one teacher attempting to simultaneously handle two grade levels. In many cases, international volunteers can really give that little extra to help control large classroom sizes and to provide additional support in schools where the student to teacher ratio is incredibly daunting.
Aside from this, VFV also continues to offer support to underfunded schools through its Adopt-A-School Project, this year providing a number of school uniforms and school supplies to Cabarasan Elementary School in Palo, Leyte through international support from Lantau International School in Hong Kong. It also continues to make best its commitment to children working or previously working in the Tacloban City dump site through its Dumpsite Project. If that wasn’t enough, this March, to tie in with the closing of school, VFV completely renovated a classroom in Tanauan, Leyte to offer a more friendly and comfortable environment for children to study.
Whatever decision gets made, whether it to make the financial commitment to sponsor-a-child, to take the time to volunteer abroad in the Philippines or to simply ship school supplies to us, the outcome of what children can achieve if given a little bit help will come as a bit of a shock and from time to time completely knock your socks off!