Photo by Paulo Monge at Barangay Sto, Nino, Tacloban City - current recipients of the #1pencil1notebook project
Hope emanated on the unpaved roads of the northern-most barangay of Tacloban City with the newly-built houses creating an instant community of former residents of Barangay San Jose, whose respective homes were completely destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

This is Barangay Sto. Nino of Tacloban City, fittingly named after the patron saint of the city and their children were the new recipients of our project #1pencil1notebook.  

In coordination with my high school alma mater, The Leyte Normal University, the project was a huge success and that an altruistic and priceless moment was felt by everyone involved in the project.  Truly, one of the moments when smile is contagious as we see the facial expressions of the children.

The #1penci1notebook project is spearheaded by Mr. Elizur Orejola with two elementary schools of Tacloban City, being the intended beneficiaries of our second visit to Tacloban City.

The choice of the intended beneficiary posed as a challenge for the organizers, though one thing is certain and that is, to give back our blessings to the less fortunate and schools which in one way or another affected our lives.

The second day of my stay in the city of Tacloban was the most hectic and for a not so usual homecoming, my day started without hangover and for the first time I resisted invitations of street parties and drinking sprees the night before.  (achievement? haha!)

Along with my parents, we proceeded to the venue of the first order of the day.

VG Dela Cruz Memorial Elementary School

Majority of the organizers of the project are former residents of the V&G Subdivision.  Despite the fact that the subdivision was the least affected by the super typhoon in the city of Tacloban, as there was no storm surge to aggravate the situation, we opted to conduct the event at the said elementary school as majority of the pupils do not actually reside in the said subdivision but on nearby communities whose homes were likewise destroyed.

Almost 200 pupils were provided pencils and notebooks for the said event and some were distributed to the neighborhood.  Despite being a non-school day (a Sunday at that), a number graced the event with the support of the school's faculty and barangay officials.

And the main event for the day was off towards north of the city.

Sto. Nino Elementary School

In partnership with the Leyte Normal University, through Dr. Jude Duarte (President) and Dr. Malaquias Conde (Vice-President for Research and Extension), our group was successfully able to conduct the distribution of school supplies for the elementary students of the community.

Recognizing the fact that the communities in the northern part of the city of Tacloban is quite a distant from the downtown area and that the parents of the children residing in the said communities, practically speaking would prioritize food and other basic necessities over school supplies, we decided to lessen their burden by providing them a kit of school supplies in time for the opening of yet another school year.

The cramped and small room from which the venue of the event was held is the classroom for all grade levels at the said community.  An increase in the number of enrollees is further anticipated due to the resettlement of the families who survived the typhoon formerly residing at Barangay San Jose.

We were joined in the event by a good friend of mine, Marisol, formerly a pre-school teacher from Bangkok, Thailand and now a member of the faculty of our high school alma mater as well, The Leyte Normal University.

An approximate of 200 pupils were likewise given a kit of school supplies covering the whole elementary school of the small community.  The smile and innocence painted on every child is truly priceless.

Thank You For Giving The Children Hope!

With the overwhelming response and relentless support of our family and friends in this small project, we are indeed grateful.  It is no secret that Tacloban City still lacks a number of supplies and commodities in the market and with the scarcity comes the increase of prices - definitely higher than what the usual market sets.

We all started with a piece of notebook and a pencil from which scribbles of our future were imprinted. With the distribution of these school supplies to the small community in the northern part of Tacloban, we have given them hope, inevitably imparting the value of education.

Again, thank you!

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