Tarlac school kids get gift of education from diplomatic ladies

By Bon Farolan (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - If we were to believe English writer GK Chesterton’s opinion that “education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another,” then the kindergarten kids at Bobon Second Elementary School in Camiling, Tarlac received their rightful gifts from a generous society of female-led charities.

On a drizzly Friday, the preschoolers took a day off from their bamboo school to transfer into a spanking new building amid fun and games, dancing and singing. They celebrated the inauguration of their cheerfully colored, two-classroom edifice, which was a gift from the proceeds of the International Bazaar Foundation Inc.’s (IBF) highly successful 2010 bazaar to a charity chaired by P-Noy’s younger sister, Pinky Aquino-Abellada. Her charity, AGAPP Foundation Inc. stands for Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-Angat at Pag-Asa. The program was founded on three principles: constructing classrooms with libraries (aklat), providing much-needed teacher training (gabay), feeding and livelihood and parenting training (aruga).

In cooperation with the Department of Education and the private sector, AGAPP, through its Silid Pangarap program, is slated to build as many as 2,000 preschool classrooms and libraries located in the poorest neighborhoods by 2016. Since its inception in August 2010, AGAPP has built a total of 109 early education classrooms throughout the country.

Gretchen V. del Rosario, wife of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and chairperson of the IBF, along with Rep. Enrique “Henry” Cojuangco (1st District, Tarlac), cut the ceremonial ribbons for both classrooms.

The AGAPP Silid Pangarap program is only one of the numerous recipients of IBF’s generosity. For the past seven years, more than 160 poor yet deserving students have been awarded full scholarships to various schools such as ABE International Business College, Arellano University, Asian College of Science and Technology, De La Salle University, Jose Rizal University, National College of Business Administration, Philippine Normal University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Rizal Technological University of the Philippines, and the University of Baguio. Under the guiding hand of Rosie Lovely Romulo, former IBF chair and wife of former DFA Sec. Albert Romulo, and in tandem with the Spouses of Heads of Mission (SHOM), generous proceeds from the annual one-day bazaar funded these scholarships as well as beneficiaries such as the Community and Family Services International (CFSI), Gift-A-Teacher, Punlaan School, Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE), Don Bosco Technical Institute, Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation Inc. (PCDEFI), Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Mission, Virlanie Foundation, Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center, International Children’s Action Network Foundation (ICAN), Operation Restore Hope (New Zealand), and the Children’s Hour.

International Bazaar Foundation Inc. ladies Rose Villamor, Sylvia J. Farolan, Gretchen V. del Rosario, Nora Salazar, Bobon preschoolers, Blesila Cabrera, Elvira Rodriguez, and Camille Macalintal

Plans are currently underway for the much-awaited bazaar this year. On Sunday, November 20, Forums, I, II & III of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) will be filled with more than 250 stalls operated by various foreign embassies and local retail participants. Aside from showcasing top-of-the-line home goods, foodstuff, and cultural icons produced by various diplomatic and consular missions, local entrepreneurs will have a chance to display their wares and sell their culinary fare.

Source: The Philippine Star (Manila, August 02, 2011)