The Dumagat tribe of Tanay, along with students and teachers from Santa Ines Elementary School, were the first to receive school supplies from the School-In-A-Box program of MoneyGram Foundation and Black Pencil Project before the Christmas break.
The program aims to bring the gift of hope through a P1-million donation of educational and teaching materials to indigenous communities across the Philippines.
The UN Development Programme has said 14 to 17 million indigenous peoples in the Philippines are living in remote, unprivileged areas, and early child labor takes away their children’s hope of education and changes their future inevitably.
“MoneyGram Foundation is proud of the partnership with Black Pencil Project in achieving our mission to help children of indigenous communities have access to proper education,” said Alex Chan Lim, country manager for the Philippines at MoneyGram.
“Thanks to our joint efforts, 2,500 students from six different schools in Tanay, as well as their teachers will be equipped with educational materials.”
One example is 10-year-old “Tata” of the Dumagat in Tanay, who shared: “I want to become a teacher when I grow up, but we don’t know where we can get the money for school. So instead, I just help my parents in the farm.”
MoneyGram’s School-In-A-Box program will also bring school supplies to the Ivatans and Ifugaos of Banawe from Cambulo Elementary School; the Aetas of Tarlac from Labney Elementary School in Mayantoc, Tarlac; Ivatans of Batanes from Sabtang Central Elementary School; the Palawanons of Palawan from Cagayan Elementary School; and the Mangyans of Mindoro from Sablayan Elementary School.
The Black Pencil Project is an independent civilian volunteer organization that assists schools from far-flung areas all over the country. It was founded by a photographer Mon Corpuz in June 2008.