Enderun Entrepreneurs Society Empowers Students of Bachao, Leyte
by Rhodes Peque and Clarissa Nolido with Sarah Navarro
Atop a small hill in Bachao, Palarao in Leyte lies a small elementary school offering a commanding view of the island and the straits. However, its remoteness comes with a price — Bachao Elementary School is often overlooked by the local government despite it’s serving all adjoining barangays. During the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 for example, very little of the relief efforts made it through to this barangay.
But Bachao is resilient. Its residents, mostly families of fishermen and farmers, persevere to make ends meet. Their children walk barefoot everyday uphill to class, eager to learn. Only seven elementary teachers preside over Bachao Elementary’s 250 students, but they dedicate their lives to the children by buying papers, pencils and crayons, paying for them from their own salaries.
The Enderun Entrepreneurs Society (EES) scheduled a visit to this remote barangay last January to deliver its surprise shoeboxes as well as 250 pairs of slippers donated by Havaianas. The shoebox campaign, initiated by EES, has been running for several years now. The student organization encourages Enderun students to donate a simple shoebox and fill it with materials suitable for rural school kids, such as t-shirts, soap and shampoo sets, notebooks, ball pens and pencils, crayons, art paper and many more. No two boxes are the same and the recipients are always excited to find out what’s inside.
Charitable efforts like this, are aligned with Enderun Colleges’ Social Orientation and Community Development’s (SOCD) policy, to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. By providing opportunities for the community to grow and flourish with minimal dole out.
Entrepreneurship student Rhodes Peque took charge of transporting the goods, taking the two and a half hour van ride from Tacloban to Bachao. With very little attention from the local government as well as very little visitors, the residents were ecstatic to welcome Rhodes in their community.
“I want to give thanks to Enderun Colleges and the Entrep Society represented today by Rhodes Peque, and especially HAVAIANAS for their generosity, for these school supplies and the slipper donation. Without your help, the great happiness of today would not be possible,” said Mr Eugenio A. Apacible, the Principal.
Before choosing their colors and styles, the slippers were arranged in two sets, one for boys, the other for the girls. On the other side, children carried letters atop their heads, spelling out, ‘Damo nga Salamat!’ (Thank you very much!). The children then sorted through the pile of slippers, excitedly looking for their sizes and favorite colors. Afterwards, they jumped for joy and presented a special song and dance to thank Enderun and Havaianas, some of them even hopping around without untying the string holding the paired slippers together.
Peque believes that this small gesture will inspire the children to enjoy their daily trek to school, allowing them to focus on studying harder and empowering them to build the future because they now have additional resources to do so.
Working alongside SOCD to provide help in communities where help is needed, EES Secretary Clarissa Nolido has also announced that Bachao Elementary School will now be a regular beneficiary of their yearly shoebox gifting list.