Philippine-Based Non-Profit Lifts Cause of Smart But Destitute Youth
A myriad of non-profit organizations focus on education as a way to address the poverty issue in the Philippines. Many of these organizations provide everything from volunteer teachers to academic materials, from scholarships to classrooms--ostensibly covering all corners of the educational spectrum.
Makati-based Hands On Manila (HOM) takes a different, but equally philanthropic, route on education-veered volunteerism by focusing on addressing the needs of students with very high potential but do not have access to proper education that can enhance their capacity.
HOM enacts this project through Hands On School.
Executive director, Norie Garcia, says that public classrooms in the country may accommodate as many as 80 students, and this poses as a challange to fast learners.
"Hands On School is a mentoring project for the immediate level pupils from public elementary schools," Norie said. "Why this program? Many of the assistance is focusing on the non-readers, low readers, malnourished kids, and we try to say with these programs, what about the high-achieving ones, the fast learners?" The classroom to student ratio is one is to 80 in the most extreme. What if you’re a smart kid in that kind of environment?"
"We give the necessary environment to enhance your potential. Hands On School provides smart and high-achieving kids a venue to enhance their potential as leaders."
Hands On School utilizes volunteer time and effort from individuals of a variety of professions. Being of high-caliber professional status, these volunteers double as role models to their students.
"We usually get volunteers from corporate; bankers, lawyers, accountants, who also serve as role models to these kids," said Norie.
HOM needs at least 50 volunteers to mentor their second batch of scholars.
"We are looking for mentors who love children, who are willing to share their Saturday mornings, at least five times," Norie said. "It takes time to build rapport with the kids."
Norie, who has spent almost two decades working in China and the South Pacific, vouches for the importance of uplifting the cause of the rural sector. Many of the country's policies center on urbanization, which relegates the rural population.
"Many people are going to Metro Manila but they don’t want to be here. They’re being displaced. I think what Hands On does is really to address what is urgent. There’s this connection between the rural and the urban problem. Even though Hands On is based in Metro Manila I can still see the relevant contributions in addressing rural and urban proverty in the way we implement our programs."
Hands On Manila is the Philippine arm of Atlanta-based Hands On Network, which is made up of 58 national and international volunteer organizations. Their approach delivers proven results in small and alrge communities across the nation and increasingly around the world, says its Wikipedia entry.
For more information, please visit HandsOnManila.org.