Manila, Philippines – True to its commitment to harnessing the power of cooperation and volunteerism for education, TEN Moves recently inaugurated the San Nicolas Central School Annex in Batangas last May 2012. The compound is the latest classrooms to be build through TEN Moves, a social mobilization campaign by the private sector-led Bayanihang Pampaaralan, to raise funds for the construction of 10,000 classrooms.
Located in Barangay Alas-as, Volcano Island, San Nicolas, Batangas, the San Nicolas Central School Annex is made up of two newly renovated classrooms and one new classroom made of lightweight prefabricated metal. Initially projected to serve only around 48 students from the island, the classrooms are expected house some 180 students from Grade 1 and Grade 2.
The construction of these classrooms was made possible through partnerships between the local government, the Taal Lake Aquaculture Alliance, Inc. (TLAAI), a group of 1,200 fish cage operators and caretakers in Taal Lake, and with various private sector companies, including DN Steel, ULTRA Insulated Panel System Corporation, Feedmix, and Fisher Farms, Inc.
Apart from the classrooms, the children of Barangay Alas-as also received 100 armchairs from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“We are grateful to see a project like TEN Moves done for the students and their parents in areas such as San Nicolas,” says TLAAI president Rodrigo Cacao. “Our area is so far from the mainland, and there are parts where even walking feels like a sacrifice. With these classrooms, the children will no longer need to cross the lake or travel far from their homes.”
Jan Chavez-Arceo, Executive Director of the Apl.de.ap Foundation, and a member of the Alphabet Warriors, a key supporter of TEN Moves, noted that TLAAI has been championing the call for environmental protection and preservation in the area, which then leads to sustainable shelter and livelihood for the families.
“We are lucky to have a partner like TLAAI, as they initiated the project and championed it,” says Arceo. “What we did was to connect them with the local government and with other relevant stakeholders. The big idea was to take care of the whole community. It is important to show them how to take care of that community and their resources.”
Arceo adds that building a new classroom is but a step in creating a better country. With this project, they hope to inculcate the value of appreciation and action in these children, and encourage them to pay it forward.
“If we want to move our country forward, we need to invest in programming in the education of the youth,” she says. “It is important for the young people to know the importance of nation-building. We just need to infect each other with the sense of volunteerism and the sense of care for the country. When we all cooperate, this can be done. Big things happen when small things are put together.”
For Mario Deriquito, Senior Director of the Ayala Foundation and a primary mover of TEN Moves, sustainability is a critical factor of nation-building and national development. “Education provides a strong foundation for children in far-flung areas like San Nicolas to aspire for bigger dreams and be in a better position to improve our country,” he says. “However, we have to create a sustainable environment in order for all of these to be realized. What TLAAI and its partner communities are doing is a very good example of creating a sustainable community, as it places equal importance to environment, education, and livelihood.”