DepEd, partner orgs give away boats, bikes to students in remote areas
By Jade D. Miguel
Access to basic quality education has been quite easy for some students in urban areas, but not for those children who travel for a minimum of three hours to get to school.
Children in far-flung areas have been used to walking several kilometers treading rivers and mountains and sometimes riding horses and boats just to step into the classroom where learning is gold and rare.
Provinces like Aklan, Bohol and Zamboanga are just some among the other rural areas in the country wherein schools are less but many are the students who are thirsty for knowledge.
According to the Department of Education (DepEd), one of the most striking disparities between children from urban and those from the rural is the time it takes for the students to get to school.
On Wednesday, the DepEd has partnered with Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation and Bikes for the Philippines in giving out bikes and boats to children and communities in remote areas that would serve as their means of transportation.
There are some children who are quite lucky enough to get to school for only two minutes like those students at Janlud Primary School in Libacao, Aklan. However, their fellow students at Pangabuyan Elementary School have been otherwise traveling for 50 minutes by boat.
Moreover, an even worse situation is being suffered by students at Samwill Elementary School in Masbate. A minimum of two hours is what it takes for them to get to school, and that is on foot.
Through the DepEd's partnership with the two foundations, Luistro has ensured that within the "last two minutes" of Aquino administration, no student will be left behind.
The Education Chief has further dubbed the project as BBB and PPP which means "Bayanihang Bangka at Bisikleta" and "Pedals and Paddles Project" respectively for the initiative to gain more recall.
"Missing out on a class can have a huge impact on comprehension and retention which could affect students' performance, as well as their attitude towards learning," Luistro said adding that reducing the travel time for children encourages them to go to school.
Certain areas such as Bohol, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Marikina, Tacloban,Zamboanga, and Palawan have been benefitted by the giving out of bikes and boats of theYellow Boat of Hope Foundation and Bikes for the Philippines.
To date, more than 800 boats have been distributed by the Yellow Boat to the communities in the said areas while an estimated 1,000 boats have been given to Yolanda-hit areas.
Around 200 bikes have been provided by the Bikes for the Philippines in two high schools in Bohol.
Each boat is worth PHP 10,000 while a bike costs PHP 2,000.
According to Joel Uichico, Project Director of Bikes for the Philippines, bikes are being given to Grades 7 to 12 provided with an eight-day training module so that students can actually prevent accidents while on their way to school.
Since mountain bikes are being distributed by the foundation, Uichico explained that they have chosen Grades 7 to 12 students due to their more mature physique than those of Grades 1 to 6 students.
To be able to reach students in far-flung areas which have not yet been benefitted by the program,the two foundations are urging interested individuals to donate to the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Inc., through their BDO Account (Peso Acct. #003170-134579 and Dollar Account # 103170-148588), and online through PayPal.
Currently, the Yellow Boat does not recommend the donating of boats as they are encouraging the beneficiaries to give sweat equity by building, painting, and installing the outrigger of the boat.
On the other hand, donation for bikes may be sent to Bikes for the Philippines Foundation, Inc. through their BDO Accounts (Peso Acct. #5420-128374 and Dollar Acct. #10-5420-128803).
Donations abroad for Bikes for the Philippines may be coursed through the following address: Jo Grant, Bikes for the Philippines, Inc., 15 Amber Rd., Westminster, MA 01473.
Interested donors may also contact the Office of the Undersecratry for Partnerships and External Linkages at (02) 633-7207, 638-8637, and 638-8639 or email the adopt-A-School program at email@example.com
Yellow Boat may be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org
and Bikes for the Philippines via email@example.com