Everyone deserves a chance to have proper education. And with proper education comes one step closer to a brighter future.
In Ormoc City, this is quite impossible for the students of San Juan Elementary School as it is left sinking in quicksand-like muck in the wake of Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-Tak). This prohibits the students and faculty to resume their classes on January 3, 2018.
Among the mess that the storm has left are damaged school equipment.
“Our school is really prone to flooding. This time, the flood has reached almost 12 feet. Now, our computers cannot be used, as well as the books that were flushed by the flood,” says. Ma. Meda Miramonte, officer-in-charge of San Juan Elementary School.
Despite the collective effort of some residents of Barangay San Juan, school personnel, students, and 15 police trainees, the school is simply too big to get the cleanup done on time.
Fortunately, this cleanup drive didn’t take too long for them as Tzu Chi Foundation launched a two-day cash-for-work program on December 28 and 29 for the residents of Barangay San Juan.
“This morning we came here at Barangay San Juan to give relief to about 700 families, then we passed by this school and saw too much mud. We told the barangay chairman that Tzu Chi is willing to provide for 150 cash-for-work [participants] so that the mud can be easily removed while it is still wet. Also, it’s for the children to be able to start the class as soon as possible,” shares Tzu Chi Philippines deputy-CEO Alfredo Li.
The school principal, Bernardita Manlasang, is thankful for the 127 residents who rendered their service as they chant ‘Maglimpio para sa kaugmaun’ or ‘Cleaning to save the future,’ as well as the foundation’s endless compassion to people in need.
“Slowly our school is being cleared from the trails of Tropical Storm Urduja because of the collective effort of the people,” says Manlasang.
“I want to thank Tzu Chi Foundation because, if not for them, I don’t know how we will be able to resume classes by January 3,” she adds.
On the second day of the cleanup drive, volunteer residents work with zeal as they accomplish the agenda for the day. Moreover, improvements have become apparent with the pathways passable and classrooms furnished.
Even before Tzu Chi launched the cash-for-work program, Ma. Gina Candelasa had volunteered in the cleanup drive at the school. She believes that, by rendering her time, she is able to help in building a brighter future for her children.
“Doing this cleanup drive is really important because it is where our children are studying. We don’t want them to have a hard time at school with that kind of environment. Also, to prevent from picking up all sorts of illness,” shares Candelasa.
Charlene Mirasol, 32 years old, helps in cleaning up the school as per the wish of her daughter, a Grade-1 student of the school.
Seeing the mud cleared from the school, Mirasol is thankful for the cash-for-work program because she can prepare a feast for New Year’s Eve and buy some school materials for her daughter.
Rita Nayon, a local volunteer, dedicates her time to the school. “I really want to help most especially in places where there are greatly affected by calamities.”
“In fact, I want to be a member of Tzu Chi because I know that this will fulfill my satisfaction in helping other people,” she adds.
The whole barangay is grateful to have been helped by Tzu Chi. Families receive much-needed relief and students of San Juan Elementary School are one step closer in reaching their aspirations in life.
Barangay chairman Efrenia Cartero and her colleagues have pledged to donate money to the foundation for the benefit of the future endeavors of Tzu Chi.
“Our barangay is grateful of the compassion that Tzu Chi Foundation has shown to us, most especially to people who are relentlessly giving their effort in cleaning the school. We will forever appreciate it,” shares Cartero.
Police trainees from Ormoc are sent to San Juan Elementary School to help in clearing out knee-deep. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Due to limited cleaning materials, a police trainee uses a casserole to collect the mud around the school premises. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Volunteer residents of Barangay San Juan lend an ear to a Tzu Chi social service worker explaining the purpose of the cleanup drive. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Volunteer residents at Barangay San Juan work as they chant ‘Maglimpio para sa Kaugmaun,’ native lingo for ‘Cleaning to save the future.’ 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Clean desk chairs are returned to their designated classrooms. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
As the rain continues to pour, volunteer residents build a sense of camaraderie in freeing the school from muck. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
San Juan Elementary School appears to be filled with quicksand as soon as the 12-feet flood has subsided. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Early in the morning, volunteer residents start clearing the school of muck. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Charlene Mirasol, a mother of a grade-2 student at San Juan Elementary School, helps in cleaning the classroom of her daughter. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Ma. Gina Candelasa, a mother of three students of San Juan Elementary School, shares her experience volunteering in freeing the school from the muck. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Late in the afternoon, the pathways of San Juan Elementary School are clear. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Barangay San Juan Captain Efrenia Cartero (left) took charge of the registration for the residents willing to volunteer in the cleanup drive of San Juan Elementary School. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】