Barangay of Malaria, Caloocan
Project to provide funds for the education of children with a disability Inclusive Education Centre, Barangay of Malaria, Caloocan, The Philippines Sponsored by Rotary
With very limited government funding to schools for children with a disability, education for such children is often inadequate. This has two long-term effects; firstly it reduces the opportunities for the parents to earn an income as they often need to care for the child, thus impacting the entire family. Secondly it limits the opportunities for the children to acquire the skills to allow them to lead an independent life as adults in the future.
In 2006, as Commissioner for The Disabled, with the support of then President of The Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Mr Richard Arceno and others formed The Inclusive Education Centre of Malaria, Caloocan assuming occupation of a disused former government building.
Mr Arceno recalls “ For the past 12 years I have guided the experimental set up of 6 Inclusive Early Childhood Education Centers (IECECs). The IECEC helped to sustain meaningful preparatory education to children with and without disabilities who belong to low income bracket families “
These are privately managed with very limited income sources.
Under the inspirational guidance of Lumen Mijares the school commenced. Since then it has done its best to provide an education for children with a disability in the neighbourhood of the Barangay of Malaria, Coloocan. Due to lack of funds, the sustainability of the Centre has been precarious; teachers have often not received a salary, teaching materials and furniture have been minimal, and Lumen has had fears that the school would not be able to continue.
Sr Augie Soliman, a member of the Rotary Club of San Juan West, became aware through a Rotary District Project in 2012, and has personally contributed a great deal in the form of ad-hoc projects, funding annual scholarships, and in other ways. In 2017 with Nick Woodhams of WH WASH Consultants, Sr Augie concluded that the school needed a regular source of income in order to secure its future and the benefits it brings to the community.
In conjunction with WH WASH Consultants, the Rotary Club of San Juan West, and the e-Rotary Club of EDSA Ortigas, a project was developed to equip the school with water treatment equipment and support in forming a water trading business to sell potable water into the local community.
A Rotary Community Corps (RCC) has been formed to help in the establishment of a water business, with the involvement of staff of the school, parents of students, and adults with a disability. The project funding is a mix of grant and loan, with the intention of assuring the viability of the water business in order to secure a sustainable source of funding for the school, yet preserve a component of loan funding (see “How we Help” section of the website for explanation).
In 2018 a Skyhydrant water treatment facility (purchased from the Skyjuice Foundation Australia) was delivered and installed. The process of running water through the Skyhydrant to remove the preservative coating of the membranes took longer than expected, and was completed in December. Water business operations commenced in January 2019.
Asked why they want this project staff and parents responded:
“To be able to help the children”
“To gain additional income for our families” (through commission on water sales)
“To learn new skills” from participating in the running of a business
“The experience of working together collaboratively for a common goal”
For Lumen it is “for the organisation to be sustainable, for it to be able to continue…. I want to grow old with the organisation”