Until now recovery efforts for the catastrophic impact of Haiyan storm is still a long stretch ahead. Though some of the needs of the people in the affected areas have been slowly met many still can’t go back to normalcy. The effects on children were rather staggering and the government together with the private sectors and humanitarian bodies have provided support in many ways. Zeroing in on the impact made to kids, it was obvious that the school system have been greatly affected as well. I could still remember the news and seeing on TV how even people who took shelter from the schools have ill-fatedly suffered the tidal waves. The aftermath was so heart-wrenching, collapsed school buildings, damaged facilities, no books, school supplies, not even some decent clothes to wear and worst, death of any people.
Five months after, people have gotten back their hopes of not only surviving the aftermath but getting a better life. Thanks to the many efforts of organizations not only based here in the country but of other countries as well. Relief efforts and rebuilding communities have started. Also, students came back to schools not minding the classrooms without even a decent roofing. Students were keen to return to school as it took their minds off what they have experienced during the typhoon. It’s been a real struggle, obviously, but according to the reports made by Intel Philippines, most of the students have graduated already by now and have seen developments.
At the presentation made by Intel in partnership with Philippine Business for Social Progress to media last April 3, 2014 at Makati Shangri La Hotel, they have put much stress on how they can also come to the aid of the students in Tanauan, Leyte, this is in line with Intel’s commitment to improve education, not only in the aftermath of whatever calamity.
Intel Foundation together with its employees worldwide, have announced ongoing efforts to rebuild the Sto. Niño Elementary School in Tanauan, Leyte, which was damaged by Typhoon Yolanda. A partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and country’s largest corporate-led social development organization Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) was made, to implement the reconstruction program aimed at reestablishing an even better and stronger school for students and teachers of the municipality.
“At Intel, we believe that education must remain a primary concern in times of adversity in order to inspire and prepare the youth for the global challenges ahead. This initiative is a testament to our unwavering dedication to provide access to teaching and learning opportunities for the youth that are critical to each community’s development,” said Intel Philippines Country Manager Calum Chisholm. “Intel believes that education is an important investment that a community makes for its future as it is instrumental to achieving greater social and economic opportunities for children.”
Interestingly, Mr Chisholm gladly shared that Intel and 2,400 of its employees from across the globe have raised a total of USD375,000 (PHP16.5M) which the Intel Foundation matched to fund the completion of four new disaster-resilient buildings with 10 classrooms for the benefit of over 500 students in the primary level. My husband used to work at Intel and this sincere effort made by Intel employees only meant that Intel really uphold their values of synergizing by giving back.
The facilities will replace the damaged buildings and will be equipped with teachers’ tables and chairs, standard school armchairs, separate washrooms for boys and girls, and ramps to provide easy access for children with disabilities. The new buildings of Sto. Nino Elementary School will be more structurally-sound to withstand future typhoons. It will also include child-friendly spaces and will be accessible to those with disabilities. With the support of its partners on the ground, Intel plans to turn over the new classrooms to DepEd in time for the upcoming 2015 academic year.
The project will support DepEd in restoring school operations in Sto. Nino Elementary School. The new school will have walls, floors, and partitions that can withstand up to three hours of fire, compared to the conventional one-hour fire resistant rating. To ensure stronger defense against seismic events and typhoons, the structure will be built with a distance of one meter above the original ground line for flood and will be resistant to 250kph wind, compared to the conventional 200kph wind load design.
All of the public schools in Tanauan were damaged by Typhoon Yolanda in some way. Sto. Niño Elementary School was one of the schools that have been rendered unusable and therefore cited by DepEd as a critical structure to rebuild.
“Our primary goal is to drive the early recovery of the school communities severely affected by Yolanda. We feel that this collaboration with Intel and the Philippine Business for Social Progress will be instrumental to our ongoing endeavor and are optimistic about the sustainable results of the program,” remarked DepEd Undersecretary Mario Deriquito.
To ensure the impact of the rebuilding program, Intel will continue to work closely with the local government unit of Tanauan, DepEd, and implementation partner PBSP to deploy a sustainability plan focused on overall facility management and maintenance.
“PBSP and Intel understand that conducive learning environments stimulate growth among the youth and their teachers as well. We are prepared to align with the school administration and Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) in order to execute an effective maintenance scheme for the new classrooms so that the next generation of students can enjoy quality facilities as well,” said PBSP Visayas Executive Committee Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz.
Apart from offering immediate and most sustainable action to its beneficiaries, Intel seeks to foster growth in student engagement or enrollment rate, and increase the number of primary level graduates. Intel has been working with the local government units of Tanauan to deliver the Intel Easy Steps program in the community e-centers as a means to impart ICT skills to the members of the community.
For more information on Intel Philippines, log on to the Intel Philippines Facebook Page or follow Intel Philippines on Twitter (@IntelPilipinas).