J-1 Holidays are looming !!!
Tomorrow is Graduation Day in the Philippines: Kids have been rehearsing for weeks and it will be a very big day for them (and their proud parents). Filipino are taking this event hyper seriously, much more than us European. I actually never heard about a “Graduation ceremony” for children before coming to Cebu. Ms Attila is required to wear a long white dress, white shoes and must have her hair perfectly done. And she still has one year of Kindergarten before entering Grade 1..
On the tiny island of Bantayan as well, the holidays vibes are in the air ..
A couple of years ago, most schools had been wiped out by super typhoon Haiyan, so I was very curious to see in which conditions the students would be rehearsing.
Building takes time, especially when the architects are dedicated to build back better and safer, according to the latest International earthquake safety standards.
A School is a building with four walls and tomorrow inside.
“On the island, many schools are also used as evacuation centres in case of natural disasters, explains Marcel Reymond, head of the Swiss NGO Caritas Switzerland. The ones we are constructing are designed to withstand very strong winds from minor storms up to 200km/h and to resist earthquakes up to 7.2 on the Richter scale. They also include a water and sanitation component, to ensure a healthy environment for all the beneficiaries.
The local community is involved at every stage of the program. They have created “School Committees” with representatives of the teachers, students, parents and local authorities, and they are the ones managing the programs. They are the real actors of the reconstruction.Caritas is only supporting, training and eventually advising.
So yes, our action do take time, but the 80 classrooms we have built are of top quality “.
Even when it comes to buildings, Swiss quality standard must be up to its reputation.
Want to take a peek at a few schools?
Caritas Switzerland has built and rehabilitated schools for over 4’000 students of the island.
When they will resume school next July, the kids will enjoy brand new buildings, not only nicer but more importantly safer and far better equipped. Students and teachers will notably get proper toilets for the first time, and will attend regular earthquake/fire drills and first aid trainings. Preparing for the worst but always hoping for the best.
Care for more?
Here is the post I wrote about Bantayan students in the aftermath of the typhoon Yolanda.
Some more pictures are on my Instagram feed.
Caritas Switzerland mandate and mission in the Philippines.