Poor children in the Philippines stop going to school because they have to work, maybe just selling vegetables on the street for 100 pesos per day or less, which leaves them without the literacy and basic vocational skills needed to improve their situation. With little income and few options, the following generations of children are also more likely to leave school in order “to help” the family, perpetuating a multi-generational cycle of poverty.
Even without the stigma attached to Filipino-Amerasian youth, poverty is a trap that’s not easy to evade. It’s a depressing, dream-killing cycle.
PAGA helps its beneficiaries to complete their schooling by providing a modest ‘educational incentive’ to their beneficiary families (less than USD $20/month) provided that they remain enrolled in school, in good standing. The detailed requirements to receive the incentives are in a signed memorandum between PAGA, the student, and the family, and reviewed monthly by a PAGA social worker. Occasionally PAGA will provide additional assistance to students who need school uniforms and other school supplies or who have family medical conditions.
Additionally, PAGA social workers provide webinars to improve study habits, coping with stress, financial management, and more.
See the attached recent newsletters for more insights into the PAGA program, and as always, we thank you for your continued support.
Time is flying by in 2022!
And with the passage of time comes the lessening impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country as a whole, and particularly on students, including PAGA beneficiary scholars and their families.
Some very good news is that the vast majority of schools in the Philippines are finally open again for face to face learning. PAGA’s beneficiaries are excited to be back in their classrooms after an absence of over 2 years.
Although all of us at PAGA are excited to see this progress, testing that’s been done around the world and in the Philippines shows that there is a lot of catching up to do as much progress was lost during the pandemic, despite best efforts to shift from the classroom to ‘emergency’ distance learning.
We’re proud to say that despite 2 years of lost momentum PAGA has persisted with its proven programs designed to keep our beneficiaries studying in school, and to help them develop as responsible young adults. One of our most effective programs is:
PAGA Educational Incentive which provides 1,000/month to the families of enrolled PAGA scholars in good standing. This program was launched during the ‘lockdown’ and continues to be a key element of PAGA’s assistance.
In the past few months PAGA has been busy with the following activities and accomplishments:
PAGA congratulates 21 beneficiaries with 16 graduating from theirrespective year levels and 5 Junior High School completers:
60 students are enrolled in continued blended learning with online and face-to-face classes for the third year under the ‘new normal” education. The breakdown is as follows:
College – 27
Senior High School – 14
Junior High School – 14
Elementary – 5
As part of the Psychosocial Development activities which resumed after 2 years limited by the pandemic, PAGA beneficiaries participated in:
US Flag Day Celebration of Manila Elks Lodge No. 761 – June 11, 2022
4 th of July & Fil-Am Friendship Day celebrations – July 2, 2022
Team building and Balik Eskwela activities - Activities, workshops, and games motivated beneficiaries to learn and achieve something with enthusiasm or interest and applied in the new normal situation. School supplies were distributed during the Balik Eskwela activity held in three areas (NCR, Bulacan & Angeles) on August 6 (NCR), August 13 (Bulacan), and August 20 (Angeles City). This was also an opportunity for beneficiaries to be connected again with other beneficiaries.
Webinar on Financial Literacy and skills via Zoom - June 25, 2022
PAGA’s Programs and Services to underprivileged Filipino-Amerasian children and their families continued through innovative platforms despite the pandemic and enabled them to overcome the current indirect impact of COVID-19.
Sincere thanks to you from our staff and beneficiaries for your continued support!
The 2nd Semester of SY2021-2022 has completed.
Students have completed the requirements for the remaining last quarter of the school year.
2 students were provided additional assistance: 1) Elaiza M>, gr.12, P1000 for graduation fee, and 2) Jesha B. 1 st yr college, P3000 for tuition Fee.
1 student, Andrei M., 2nd year, BS in Information Technology in Cavite State University, returned to schooling this March 2022 (2 nd sem, SY 2021-2022) after stopping for one year due to loss of interest in online classes; minimal learning vs tuition paid. He temporarily looked for a part-time job to help his parents.
Distance learning continues in the 2nd year of the COVID 19 pandemic, and students will soon be returning to the classroom for face-to-face learning as well as distance learning on certain days. Even in distance learning students still need basic school supplies for the completion of projects, performing task projects, and modules for submission. For the 2nd semester, 66 students were provided with school supplies and prepaid data load for internet access. A total of 87 beneficiaries received financial support from PAGA.
School supplies were delivered by the staff to Bulacan, and Angeles-based beneficiaries while students from other areas received these via delivery couriers. The NCR-based beneficiaries picked up their school supplies at the PAGA office.
Assistance continued to students having difficulty accessing distance learning studies. For SY 2021-22, five (5) Junior high school students were provided with Dotpad 10” Lemon Android Tablets. Grateful students show their happiness when they received their learning devices.
This is our “post - centennial” message to members, donors, and friends, because on November 29, 2021 PAGA reached its 100th birthday!
I can’t imagine that our founders realized they were creating a social welfare organization that would last over a hundred years …
In those days the beneficiaries served were referred to as American mestizos. Their profile and needs are similar today, but they are called Filipino Amerasians. And there are still, 100 years later, many more needy children than PAGA’s resources can provide for.
And now back to the 21st century, where once again, we highlight the ongoing impact of COVID-19, which is setting all time records in the number of new cases, thanks to the Omicron variant, particularly in the NCR Plus area. Where does it leave the families of our beneficiaries?
FIrstly, the earner in the ‘typical’ beneficiary’s family is a daily wage worker, supposedly working for at least the minimum wage of P 537/day in Metro Manila. However, many workers have been recalled on a temporary, reduced basis - maybe 3 or 4 days a week and below the minimum daily wage.
Meanwhile, 2021 inflation has been running at approximately 4.5%. So the earnings, severely reduced by as much as 50%, are further diminished with inflated prices on essential family purchases.
Secondly, in addition to the financial stress that families are coping with, millions of school children are hunkered down at home again for a second year of remote lessons that experts fear will simply worsen an ongoing educational crisis.
The Philippines is one of the last countries to delay a return to classroom learning, despite the overwhelming data and other evidence of its superiority to the non-face-to-face methods.
Despite these overwhelming macro challenges, PAGA’s mission for its beneficiaries in 2022 remains unchanged as “to build the intellectual ability, personality, and productive skills of underprivileged Filipino Amerasian children and accompany them on their journey to becoming meaningful, respected, and actively participating members of Filipino society.”
We are proud of the results of our integrated programs for education, health care, social protection, psychological development, and the opportunities provided for the economic productivity of our beneficiaries and their families, liberating them from social discrimination and the cycle of generational poverty.
Our programs are ‘richer’ than ever before in the financial and other services provided to our beneficiaries. The content of the proven PAGA program has evolved over the years and is based on our experiences with many youth. Our beneficiaries and their parents are required to sign a letter of agreement with PAGA committing to follow the program requirements and to avail of the services that PAGA provides because only with the family’s commitment and support do we see significant positive results.
The names, dates, and descriptions of these recurring programs and services can be seen in the PAGA Matters newsletters on the https://PAGA.PH website.
The obvious question is “if we have a solution to poverty, why don’t we have several hundred or thousands of beneficiaries?”
Of course the answer is based on our available resources. it costs money (P 30+K per child per year) to deliver our programs and services and we have a waiting list of needy youth otherwise qualified to participate,
We have had continuing success with the GlobalGiving.org online fundraising platform, designed to help NGOs such as PAGA create campaigns and enlist new donors.
We can’t afford advertising so we need you to please tell your friends, acquaintances, co-workers, relatives, and neighbors to support our work. Any size donation is welcome.
More donors are the key - and repeat donations from the loyal donors we already have .
Thanks for helping us grow through your donations and by spreading the PAGA message!
Greetings friends and donors of PAGA!
During the past few months of summer break we were pleased to see the advancement of many of our student beneficiaries. Congratulations to 11 Senior High School graduates, 11 Junior High completers, and 3 Elementary graduates.
Together with other students at different levels, they were promoted to the next year/grade level despite the challenges and difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. They successfully adapted to the “new normal setup”, with no face-to-face schooling. The highlight of the school year was the attendance of these students through Virtual Graduation and Moving-Up ceremonies uploaded by their respective school in YouTube and/or the school’s social media links.
School is already in session again in the Philippines, as of September 13. A total of 71 beneficiaries are enrolled now. The distance learning mode is still in effect, but responding to the challenges, we will continue to be flexible with our programs to support our beneficiaries in their pursuit of completing the requirements for higher education diplomas.
During the past few months we conducted 4 Webinar sessions via Zoom for 54 of our students with the theme: PAGA Cares: “Student’s Life Learning Experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
This was a venue for students to share their insights and learning experiences with distance learning during the COVID pandemic. Most encountered difficulties but there were also joyful moments during their online class. Many shared about having gained new friends, developed self-confidence, and knowledge, especially on using different applications such as Google Meet, Zoom and Microsoft Office.
All attendees expressed their thanks and appreciation for the support from PAGA especially the grant of their monthly educational stipend which was a big help for them to access data loads and/or internet connections, complete school projects, and enabled them to move up to next educational level.
On September 18, 2021 PAGA conducted a Webinar for the parents of beneficiaries with the Theme: PAGA Cares “Facts and Questions on COVID 19, Self-Care and Vaccination”. 46 attended, with Dr. John Carlo M. Malabad, MD, PhD, an assistant scientist from DOST-PCHRD as the invited resource speaker.
Also, “PAGA Matters” – the May-June 2021 newsletter, was released and can be found on https://www.paga.ph.
In closing, we’d like to emphasize our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of our donors and volunteers. Please know that PAGA management is aware of the act of support that is made by your donation. We would be unable to continue our work for these worthy beneficiaries without your generosity.
Stay safe always!
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