“Fight rural illiteracy one child at a time.” That’s our mission! And this has been a great challenge for non-profit organization iLearners Inc. because of the many factors that contribute to the dilemma.
It was on the 8th of December 2007 when my friends and I drove 90-minutes to the south of Cebu on a 3-car-convoy bringing with us school supplies for the 40 actively attending pupils of Lunas Elementary School and grocery packs for their families.
Lunas’ Grade 2 advisor Mr. Jesus Laug-laug asked for our support through a friend who finished his primary studies there. Sadly, the school has not reached the minimum required enrollees for that school year and was on the brink of shutting down. We interviewed and talked to the pupils, their parents and teachers to get a clearer and better understanding of their situation.
“First Goal: Make pupils attend classes regularly to maximize their learning potential. ”
To achieve our first goal, we identified two reasons why the kids miss their classes – (1) Poverty (2) Health Reasons. With the problems pointed out, we implemented straightforward solutions to iron out these issues.
Food on the table is the main priority for most parents in these rural areas. As per the interviews we did, parents would prefer buying rice than school supplies for their kids. And we also learned that some families send their kids to sell candles to the town proper’s church for additional income. For most, buying school supplies is an unnecessary expense.
So every opening of the school year, we hold “iLearners Brighter Future Project” where we distribute bags with school supplies to the pupils of our adopted schools. Since the start of the project in 2008, there has been a constant increase of enrollees and less students are dropping out in Lunas Elementary School. Same improvements has been happening in 2 of the other schools under iLearners’ support.
iLearners Inc. also plans to partner with NGOs for livelihood programs to help the local residents in the areas of our adopted schools get the right knowledge on how to sustain a healthy and good living environment for their families.
Absenteeism due to Health Reasons
Toothache and fever are the common reasons why kids miss their classes, as per the teachers of our adopted schools. In 2013, we launched iLearners Sipilyo Campaign to address the problem. We partnered with JIKFI and PDA-Cebu for the project. Extraction, flouridization/ flouriding and demonstration on how to properly brush the teeth are conducted by our partner dentists. Oral health kits and vitamins also are given out to the students during the end of the program.
In 2014, our teachers of Lunas Elementary School mentioned that there has been a slight decrease on the absenteeism rate since we started the program in 2013. We are continuing the project this year and is looking forward to a 50% decrease in absenteeism due to toothache in the year 2016.
Those are two of the tip-of-the-iceberg approaches iLearners Inc. carry out to keep our kids in school and maximize their learning potential.
That’s just one of iLearners’ many goals to promoting literacy in the rural areas of Cebu.
Now approaching our 8th years, we have carried out successful projects like Library Rehabilitation, Art Workshop , Reach-out-and-read and Paint-thy-future projects, tackling different aspects of iLearners goals.
Today, iLearners Inc has 3 adopted rural elementary schools in Cebu, reaching out to more than 400 pupils this school year, giving them hope of a brighter future.
Just like us at iLearners Inc., Pioneer has been perpetual with their own mission. Since 1954, Pioneer has been in the service of insuring Fililpinos and the things they value most. Through the decades, it has also found inspiration through the arts, and has supported the artistic community through insurance coverage and sponsorships. As a means of continued support for the Filipino talent, Pioneer announces Pioneer Stories of Hope Playwriting Competition.
Read more about Pioneer Stories of Hope Playwriting Competition here: www.iLuvCebu.com