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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Rebuilding a Future: International School Manila’s Journey with Estancia Central School
By Maica Cruz 08-Jun-17
On November 8, 2013 the largest and most powerful hurricane made landfall in the Philippines. Super typhoon Yolanda (International Codename: Haiyan) left massive destruction in its wake, with 12- to 15-foot storm surges, landslides, and massive flooding. Over 6,000 lives were lost and over four million people were displaced, with many left homeless and in urgent need of food, water, and basic supplies. As part of the International School Manila’s (ISM’s) Service Learning Program, ISM’s Disaster Relief Fund allowed our community to immediately respond and take action in assisting those devastated by the storm, including staff members who were directly affected. In our call for donations, the overwhelming support and significant contributions sent across the globe from schools and organizations worldwide enabled ISM to make the move from immediate relief efforts to rebuilding efforts. ISM channeled these donations to the Disaster Relief Fund, which prioritized rebuilding a public school in Estancia, Iloilo, one of the coastal towns hit head-on by Yolanda. Servicing 3,000 children, the Estancia Central School formed a partnership with the intention to turn the school into a great learning environment as well as a place of refuge in the event of another storm. Reconstruction has been in steady progress over the last three years, with the completion of most classrooms and the gymnasium that also serves as school’s Community Center for sports events, graduation ceremonies, and school productions. The ISM Service Learning program aims to empower students to address issues of real importance at both the local and global levels. As an integral part of ISM’s mission, sustainability lies at the core of the school’s vision and it is our intention to forge a lasting relationship with our students and those of Estancia Central School. With the recently concluded International Community Actively Responding to the Environment (ICARE) trip for School Year 2016–2017, highlights included the newly installed basketball hoops for the gym, donated by ISM student Dale Yim, as well as the vegetable and herb gardens newly planted to replace the piles of typhoon debris. Lessons organized by ISM students throughout the week focused on safeguarding the environment. Twenty-four donated trash bins were also painted so that the school may start a recycling program, separating bio and non-biodegradable materials as the first step. Together, the Estancia students and ISM students painted a large mural as reminder of their collaboration. Estancia Central School’s Principal, Mr. Gerry Tingson, conveyed his utmost appreciation on behalf of their community: “We would also like to express our gratitude for the love and concern you have shown to our students... for the basketball facilities, the mural, the garden and the trash bins!” The project to rebuild the Estancia Central School is a long-term commitment. The contributions raised by both the international community of schools and by ISM families and students, big and small, have made the worldwide relief efforts truly meaningful. We are proud to be part of a community that has been so generous in giving.
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