Soldiers to the rescue: Yolanda kids get free school supplies
LEYTE, Philippines – When public schools opened this week, soldiers once more came to the rescue of children in villages devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.
Members of the Philippine Army's 19th Infantry Battalion distributed free bags and school supplies to 706 school children in the remote and still-devastated villages of Daro, Likod, Mag-Aso, and Burabod in Jaro town, this province.
"We are always there for the most vulnerable children, helping them to have a better education and the opportunity to smile and live better," said Lieutenant Prolen Bonacua, executive officer of the battalion's Alfa Company.
He said he was touched by the determination of 10-year-old John Michael Olgasan, a Grade 5 pupil at Daro Elementary School, to go to school even without the basic supplies.
The boy was among the recipients of the school supplies on Tuesday, June 2.
"I was not certain if I could have a bag and notebook for the entire school year, but I go to school because I want to study,” Olgasan said in the vernacular.
The boy's grandmother, 68-year-old Paulita Olgasan, said life had been more difficult for them since Yolanda, and it was "a blessing from God to have people like you who cares a lot for us who are in need."
Liza Borja, a Grade 2 teacher at the Daro Elementary School, said some of her students didn’t feel like attending classes most of the time because they didn't have the materials needed for their studies.
"Words cannot describe our deep gratitude to your group. You brought hope into a hopeless situation of people from our village," Borja said.
Major Arturo Dumalagan, executive officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion, said they wanted to help the children escape the cycle of poverty by contributing to their education this way.
Rolando Suyom Jr of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery in Tacloban City believed so too: "We believe that access to educational supplies is essential to the fulfillment of children’s right to education. We want to motivate village children in Jaro, Leyte, to continue their schooling in a meaningful way." – Rappler.com