A day of giving: Call center agents join Brigada Eskwela
MANILA, Philippines – After 9 hours of work on a hard Friday night, getting home on Saturday morning to get some much needed shut-eye is heaven for many call center agents.
But even if they they had the option to do this, thousands of call center agents volunteered at two Manila elementary schools for the 8th annual Telus Day of Giving last May 16 where they helped clean and fix schools as part of this year's Brigada Eskwela.
Telus International Philippines (TIP) lent nearly 2,000 pairs of helping hands to the Isabelo Delos Reyes Elementary School (IRES) in Tondo, Manila and the Cayetano Arellano Elementary School in Sta. Cruz in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Hands On Manila.
A pair of these busy hands belonged to call center agent Sef Tiburcio.
Like the other volunteers present that day, Sef came straight from a 9 PM to 6 AM shift.
“Ito 'yung way para makapagbigay ka doon sa mga taong nangagailangan. 'Yun lang talaga yun purpose mo," he said. (This is one way of helping those in need. This is really my purpose.)
Spirit of helping
This spirit of wanting to help those in need is what DepEd aims to foster with its Brigada Eskwela, also known as National Schools Maintenance Week.
The program aims to spruce up and improve the facilities of public schools by getting members of the community and private institutions to volunteer their labor and donate materials.
Volunteers painted classrooms, built shelves, tended the garden, and held arts and crafts activities for children.
Sef shared that, though he was tired from work, he was happy to be helping and excited to garden a big plot of soil for the first time.
“We’re just enjoying ourselves [by] helping people,” said call center agent Karen Ganduli.
The teachers were equally as happy as the volunteers during the event.
“Proud na proud kami dahil sa dami ng public schools sa Manila, kami yung napili,” said Lita Constantino, an IRES teacher. (We're very proud to be chosen among the many public schools in Manila.)
The teachers feel that the quality education IRES provides its students and its spacious facilities are among the reasons why it was chosen. IRES students often receive awards in school and top the National Achievement Test.
The school also shows its commitment to poverty alleviation through its feeding program.
"In every grade level, there are children who are not receiving the right nourishment and are consequentially underweight," Marlyn Perez, an IRES teacher, shared.
With 6,648 pupils, IRES is one of the biggest public schools in the city. It is also found in an area with a high crime rate.
Through collective efforts within the community, positive change – such as encouraging children to stay in school and feeding them nutritious food – can happen on a greater scale.
After a full day of service, what can be expected of the volunteers?
Their Day of Giving served as a launching pad for their year-long relationship with the school.
Cris Rosenthal, TIP Vice President for Human Resources, noted that because of the time and effort they gave, they expect to receive updates of positive developments as a result of the project.
“Consistent with the theory of adoption, we have an emotional connection to the school and the children,” said TIP President Jeffrey Puritt.
He mentioned that after the Day of Giving, groups of Telus team members will be coming back throughout the year to continue what they had started.
Joy Virata, member of the TIP Community Board, also shared that the children can be expected to have boosted abilities to learn, because their school environment is now more conducive to learning. (READ: Learning on an empty stomach)
“There’s no shortage of opportunities to make a difference,” Puritt said. – Rappler.com
Donatella Manlongat is a Rappler intern.