That’s it, the machine is on! After more than a year of procrastination, we decided to make it happen: the Philippine Schoolchildren’s Association was born with a very high dose of hope. Dozens of associations have already been opened all over the Philippines, many of them focused on children and education. What is original for us, you might say? None of them have yet focused on the island of Bohol!
Bohol, according to Google Search, is an island of some 4,000 square kilometers, white sandy beaches, hills that are the color of chocolate in the dry season, tourists from all over the world come to see the tarsiers, those tiny mammals with eyes incredibly disproportionate to their size.
But Bohol is also quite simply an island in the Philippines, a third world country where 25% of the population lives below the poverty line, an archipelago that too often succumbs to the vagaries of the Pacific Ocean and is ranked 9th out of 67 countries most exposed to natural disasters. At the end of 2013, the inhabitants of Bohol suffered successive earthquakes over more than a month, losing their homes, their crops and members of their families.
Unfortunately, we do not have the power to divert typhoons, which very rarely spare these parts of the world, but we all have a role to play in the rebirth of affected families. The association Ecoliers des Philippines wants to encourage the schooling of children in Bohol through exchanges with France and material support for nursery and primary schools.
Our first place of action: the school/church in the village of Mandaug (see following photos), which has suffered a lot from the repeated earthquakes. Every year, this school welcomes about 40 pupils from 3 to 6 years old, where they learn shapes, colours, alphabet, before starting primary school. In addition to the critical lack of comfort in the school, the need for educational and play materials is considerable.
We hope to be able to help the pupils of this school from December 2014 thanks to our “Operation Christmas”: a French school (Châtellerault, Vienne) will make a collective greeting card for the children of the Mandaug school, in English, to give them a glimpse of the French Christmas spirit. A package of “surprise bags” containing chocolates and some regional food products will accompany these words.