Friday, September 23, 2011

PREP (Promoting Rural Education in the Philippines)

Today, I’d like to talk a bit about a group called PREP (Promoting Rural Education in the Philippines). This group was founded by a much loved former guidance counselor of the International School of Manila (ISM).

In 1992, a group called PREP was formed for the purpose of promoting education in the rural areas of the Philippines, and Vicky Herrera and ISM students have been working with public schools in Tagaytay ever since.

"We've been volunteering at different schools, and the ISM kids come-up with all sorts of lessons!" - Vicky Herrera

In addition to lessons on ecosystems, solar systems, continents and health, PREP has been donating books, shelves and other materials to the schools in Tagaytay. The unique thing about PREP is that instead of pretending to know what each school needs, it donates funds to schools so that they can decide what they need most, and the schools submit PREP with the receipts so that things can be kept above the board and transparent.

The donations have been used for anything from fixing leaking roofs to bringing electricity to the classrooms.

"In 1996, we went to Sungay School, and when ISM kids wanted to do a dance, we realized the school had no electricity so we couldn't plug the tape recorder in. " - Vicky Herrera

PREP raised 10,000 pesos to electrify the school, and it has made all the difference in the world. The classrooms that had been previously so dark that the children had difficulty seeing what was written on the blackboards were illuminated with light, and fans were installed to provide ventilation.

In 2011, the mayor built a new building for Sungay School. Although the facility is new, the school library has nothing except for worn out work books and an encyclopedia set that PREP donated to them previously. Currently donations are being collected from the alumni of the International School of Manila to make this space into a bilingual reading center.

"It will take a lot of work, as besides books, we need furniture and shelves, etc. But it's all starting to come together beautifully, thanks to wonderful alumni out there who want to help!! My ISM PREP group and I will be going to the Sungay School on October 26th, and they are busy making lesson plans and are thinking of all sorts of games..." - Vicky Herrera

Although it's impossible to solve all the problems of the world, we like to believe that helping a little bit will make a big difference for someone.

We, at the Shouichi Yoshida Memorial Fund, hope that some of these students will pursue a career in agriculture at any of the excellent universities of the Philippines and look forward to supporting them. For more information please go here.

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