With a goal in mind, the children beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the MIMAROPA Region are determined to finish school despite the new learning modalities. Hopes are high with the twenty (20) children beneficiaries as they believe that whatever modality of education it will be, their aspiration to finish school is more important.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through the 4Ps, envisions an inclusive future where opportunities are for all. Aside from improving health and nutrition, the program also advocates for continued and fair education, especially for the children beneficiaries. The program continuously gathers support from key stakeholders and forms new partnerships to further intensify the call for fair access to quality education.

Sharing the same thrust on education, new program partners BIG Heart PH (BHP) and MSN Foundation, Inc. (Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Cherry) have reached out to the program to provide twenty (20) educational tools for indigent students in the region. This will help the children cope up with the new modes of learning. 

Keeping everyone connected with opportunities

The provision of educational tools (tablet) started when Filipina actress Heart Evangelista-Escudero started the initiative called the BIG Heart PH (BHP). “This pandemic has affected so many people in all walks of life and some of those most affected are the students— under the new normal, they would be required to comply with distance learning or forced to stop their education if they couldn’t. That means that each student would need access to their own tablet and internet. This project of mine started when people were messaging me on Twitter asking for assistance. I knew then in my heart that I had to do something. Something bigger”, wrote Heart in her Instagram Account.

To fund the initiative, the 36 years old Actress sold one of her paintings and has tapped MSN Foundation, Inc. to augment assistance in the distribution of the tablets. To reach those children who live in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), the MSNFI has tapped DSWD MIMAROPA 4Ps. “Due to the pandemic and changes in the modes of learning kapansin-pansin ang malaking pangangailangan ng mga monitored [registered] child beneficiaries natin ng gadget and devices na makakatulong sa kanilang online classes, lalo na sa MIMAROPA kasi may mga GIDA. Malaking impact sa mga bata ang mga tablet na iginawad satin ng BIG Heart and Cherry pang support sa kanila, sa pag-aaral patungo sa kanilang pinapangarap na kinabukasan”, expressed by Angelique Lorraine Sumera, Gender and Development Focal of 4Ps MIMAROPA.

Sharing the same thrust and goal with the program, MSNFI believes that through the partnership with DSWD MIMAROPA, more children in the country, especially those who live in far flung areas will be reached. “We want to be inclusive in this project. We want to support our students in these trying times as much as we can. We value the partnership and recognize DSWD MIMAROPA’s efforts to reach out to the underserved students of the region”, said MSNFI in an official statement. The MSNFI also believes this collaboration will pave the way towards more meaningful partnerships in the future.

Putting a ‘Cherry on Top’

One of those 20 children beneficiaries who received tablets from BHP and MSNFI is John Dave Rino, 18 years old. The family of John Dave lives in Sitio Anahaw, Brgy. Otod, San Fernando, Romblon. He is currently a Grade 12 student in Don Carlos M. Mejias Memorial National High School. John Dave takes the track in Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) strand.

Aside from the cash grants from the program, the family of John Dave relies on farming and wood carving. During the farming season, his father takes home Php 1,000.00 in a month while her mother earns Php 2,000.00 to Php 3,000.00 for selling and carving wooden handicrafts in a month. This shall suffice the education of John Dave and his siblings. 

The tablet from BHP is a cherry on top for John Dave. As he starts his journey to becoming a public servant, a firefighter, or a police officer, the Grade 12 student takes the learning tool as another inspiration to persevere in school. “Maraming-maraming salamat po sa BIG Heart Foundation. Dahil po sa ibinigay nyong tablet, makakatulong na po ito sa aking pag-aaral at magagamit din po nga aking mga kapatid” thankfully said by John Dave.

John Dave is determined to succeed no matter what challenge may come along his way. Together with the 19 other beneficiaries who received a tablet, they all believe that the real ‘cherry on top’ is what is ahead of them — a inclusive future. A future where no technology nor access to information will divide the nation. Instead, it shall unite the people from all sectors —  helping together, succeeding together.

The initiative of the BHP and Cherry to reach the program beneficiaries proves that support from like-minded organizations creates a greater impact. Everyone’s contribution to nation-building can help in paving the way of the children and youth towards a future where opportunities are for all and poverty will no longer be inherited.

As of this writing, John Dave and the other 19 children beneficiaries have already received and started using the tablets from BHP. Aside from the gadget, they have also received free prepaid sim cards with enough internet data that can last up to a week of use. ###

It was in 2020 when Heart Evangelista together with MSNFI started the initiative to provide learning tools for the indigent students in the country


John Dave received the tablet from BHP and MSNFI which he may use in accomplishing his assignments and studying his school modules.

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