Operation School Assist Update
In metro Manila, where COVID cases are still growing in number, our scholars continue to go to school through online classes. It has not been easy for our families, especially when there are strict lockdowns, but they are being monitored closely by our staff. We send relief as necessary.
We continue to tutor children. After each tutoring class in the morning and in the afternoon, all the kids run to the Joy Playground. Children play tag. They run . . . they sweat . . . they laugh out loud! Smaller children, age 6 and below, watch with glee but sometimes you can see their faces expressing their wish to join in. So our teachers started playing “hide and seek” with them.
On the other hand, it is sad to see in the news that children’s mental health is affected due to being cooped up with modules at home. It’s heartbreaking to hear of students around the country committing suicide because they can’t keep up with their modules. Parents in our area are not able to help out consistently because they work long hours or they lack the educational ability to assist their children.
Teachers are overwhelmed. With the increasing number of COVID infections, our “Operation School Assist” project may be extended. We will be needing funding in order to continue. We are stretched thin.
Please pray if you should participate through giving to help us continue and even expand our services. Gifts to Alliance Women through the month of June will help support the work of Operation School Assist.
Project Countryside Update—“Operation School Assist!”
In October 2018, the Project Countryside Living and Learning (PCLL) property was purchased primarily for women who had no home to return to after their release from prison. In 2019, a four-bedroom house was constructed for use by women accepted into this program. “Where are the women who are supposed to be staying at Project Countryside Living and Learning (PCLL)?”
Due to the Covid pandemic, Alliance workers Tim and Cleo have not been able to visit prisons, and those released inmates who had planned to come could not get transportation from their provinces to PCLL because of the travel ban between provinces.
The Undheim’s began to pray about how the PCLL property could become functional and relevant amid these challenges. They determined that this development would not keep them from seizing opportunities to demonstrate God’s love to others.
In July 2020, the Philippine Department of Education announced options for the 2020-2021 school year. According to the news reported in October 2020, at least three million kids are not able to attend school due to the pandemic. When the Undheim’s learned that these students had not yet enrolled, their hearts broke. Low-income families did not have the money to buy the school supplies required for their online classes, so they were keeping their children out of school.
Operation School Assist!
A swift response was necessary. Plan A, serving the needs of women coming out of prison, was temporarily overruled. Plan B, “Operation School Assist,” was initiated!
Cleo organized a committee of three women and three men to plan their response. They checked out the needs of two schools near PCLL – Quimmardero Elementary School and Pisapungan Elementary School. They wasted no time, purchased student school supplies, two weeks’ worth of printing supplies, and turned these over to the schools and teachers.
At the nearby Quimmardero Elementary School (QES), the head teacher Mr. Avelino Mores, Jr. shared this testimony: “Out of the blue, a representative from PCLL requested to meet with me and asked what we need! What a timely response. The Lord provides. We are so thankful for PCLL!”
School supplies have also been delivered to Pisapungan Elementary School, a school in the mountains catering to an ethnic group called “Aetas”—a minority group with their own culture. Many of the students walk through the mountains two and a half miles each day round trip to go to school. It is a big task for its five female teachers to find ways to make learning feasible.
The Undheims’s report, “We hope to touch the lives of at least some, especially the tribal kids, a people group we have always worked with in our Ina-Inakay ministry. We will be tutoring students, involving their mothers in the process, and providing educational supplies to several schools in the area.”
Learning Space, Tutors and Meals
The original intention was to tutor elementary grades only, but high school students wanted in, too. PCLL temporarily put a hold on working on the much-needed property fence in order to gear up for tutoring children.
The Unheim’s report: “We created ‘open air classrooms’ suitable to pandemic requirements, made tables for each student, and fixed our unfinished bathrooms. We will resume fencing the property soon. Some of the kids come hungry so we have added breakfast, snack, and lunch since we do whole days.”
A year of assistance, which includes all school supplies (paper, printers and ink included) plus teachers for tutoring and food for the children, will be just under $33,000. Farm veggie sales are helping a little but won’t be able to cover everything. We welcome you to join us in helping even a tiny part of the three million stay in school this year and excel. Your gifts to Alliance Women will help fund this ministry. Give.