It seems strange to announce the end of the school year when students have not had the chance to be in school at all. Schools in the Philippines have been closed since March 2020. Distance learning – in the form of online teaching and study modules - has been the norm for more than a year. All of our students have had to make use of this. It hasn’t been easy for them as internet in the squatter areas is slow and many families lack the technology for their children to go online.
School year 2020/2021 has truly been a challenge, and yet, despite all the difficulties, the students will finish their school year next month. We have almost 600 students who will move up to the next level; some entering college, some even graduating from college. The programs for the school dropouts will have students graduating from an accelerated high school program called ALS (Alternative Learning System): in one year’s time these dropouts have been able to achieve a high school certificate! Younger school dropouts will be able to enter elementary school next school year. Altogether, more than 150 students enrolled in our school dropout programs will successfully move on to their next level!
As far as we know, the local government will not be re-opening the school buildings in August. So, we will continue with online and modular teaching. It is a difficult task for our staff as we often see the lack of motivation among our students due to these extra tough circumstances. We are keenly aware that without encouragement and support many will stop their education. The role of coaching our students is more necessary than ever and truly appreciated. As Young Focus staff we also want to express our appreciation of YOUR support as you continue to help us through your donations! THANK YOU!
In our last report we updated you on our ‘Quality Education for ALL’ campaign which we launched to tackle the educational issues of our students during the pandemic. The good news is that we have been able to set up two computer labs with sufficient hardware to help our students. Not only the computer labs are helpful, but we have also been able to give out thousands of printed teaching modules to students and parents, to school drop outs and preschool children. Besides the handouts, we also provide online teaching for the children who have access to internet
Needless to say, we will have to continue these activities as long as the Covid restrictions remain in place in the Philippines. Face-to-face teaching in school and in our centers is still not allowed. In many ways, however, we have got ‘used to’ this new normal and have been learning how to be as effective as possible with online and modular teaching.
The challenges are still there: internet connection in squatter areas is unpredictable and unstable, families don’t have enough devices for all the siblings having online classes at the same time, and many children find it hard to focus on their studies in their shacks with limited space and noisy surroundings. In the midst of these challenges Young Focus will continue to support and encourage the children through our dedicated staff. We want to motivate them to finish this school year and have hope for a better future.
It's been three months ago that we updated you - through this GlobalGiving newsletter - on our response to the needs of our beneficiaries during the corona time. We look back at a succesful rice campaign. Almost 100,000 kgs of rice has been distributed since the beginning of the crisis. Yes, many people are 'back to work', but the corona crisis in the Philippines is far from over. The poor are suffering and there are no easy solutions.
After the rice campaign we launched a new campaign that deals with the educational needs of our beneficiaries: most of the schools are stilll closed and the ones that are open are using online learning systems. Needless to say that that is a huge challenge for our students: they won't have sufficient means to have a device or even an internet connection.
Young Focus is in the process of setting up class rooms with computers so that students can make use of the available internet. Also modular learning systems are in place for the younger children and their parents - so many of them don't have internet. The government planned to open most of the online classes by October 5. We will do everthing in our ability to have our children connected to the internet so that they won't get behind in their educational developement.
Your giving is appreciated more than ever! In the current worldwide calamity of Covid-19, funds may become scarcer than ever, but the needs of the families in Tondo, also the educational needs of the children, have certainly not become any less.
Thank you again for helping to make our work possible!
Like the rest of the world, Young Focus is also experiencing the negative effects of Covid-19. Manila has been under lockdown since March and that has limited our operations in our school dropout programs.
We have not been allowed to meet in classrooms. The communities we work in have been under strict quarantine so even visiting our students has been difficult.
Another issue arose: because of the lockdown our beneficiaries from the communities were not allowed to work: No work = no pay = no rice on the table! As a response to this particular need Young Focus initiated a rice campaign. Every two weeks we have been distributing 15kg of rice to each familie. In total we have distributed about 65,000 kilos of rice to thousands of people.
On top of this coronacrisis, a number of our beneficiaries also experienced a fire in the community: thousands of families ended up on the street. Together with other NGOs we were able to help out, provide food and rebuild some of the houses as well.
It is a tough time we are all facing, but thank you for your support and participation in the projects we are running. Without you we can not do what we want to do. Thanks for believing in us.
Our school drop-out youth joined the celebration of the National Language month by showcasing their talents in singing, poetry writing, cultural dancing and pageantry.
The program emphasized the preservation of culture, heritage, and identity through Filipino and indigenous languages. Besides demonstrating love for the Filipino language, the different competitions also gave the participants the opportunity to develop self-confidence.
Our school drop-out children would normally miss these precious moments as these celebrations are huge in the Filipino schools. Young Focus wants to celebrate this "Buwan ng Wika" (Month of the National Language) so they can be prous of being a Filipino.
The staff were proud to see how these participants had developed their talents and improved through practice and determination!
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