Did you know that there are Filipino students who reach sixth grade without learning how to read in Filipino, the local vernacular?
This is the sobering fact presented by the lovely ladies of “Oras na para sa Alpabasa” a social entrepreneurship program led by three volunteer school teachers during the final awarding of Pharmaton’s “Life Changer’s Challenge: Strength in Numbers.” The contest is intended to search for the best social entrepreneurship who is worthy of the PHP1,000,000 cash grant which will serve as seed money in bringing their advocacy to fruition.
“…Alpabasa” is composed of teachers Tisha Gonzales-Cruz, Noelle Pabiton and Sholeh Villoria and are all volunteer teachers who saw the need to create a more comprehensive and engaging reading material and tools that will help local public school students improve their reading comprehension.
Alpabasa was created three years ago when teacher Tisha in order to provide easy to understand materials for her students. Initially, all Alpabasa kits were written in English and is designed to use of games, songs, sounds and movements to entice students to read. Eventually, two more dedicated educators teacher Noelle and teacher Sholleh came onboard to help teacher Tisha realize her dream of producing more kits to reach more kids. It was also around this time when Alpabasa became a tool for reading in Pilipino after the three educators saw that there’s a greater need for students to learn to read in the local language.
The value of the Alpabasa couldn’t be more pronounced during the testing period. In just 18 days, 106 students were able to finish a book — to think that these students, supervised by 12 dedicated volunteer teachers — used to be non-readers back in Day 1.
Alpabasa vested 9 other contestants to win the title. The touching part is: all contestants who presented their causes and social entrepreneurship during the panel are also deserving to win. They are: Teaching K-12 Science using Indigenous materials, another group of educators focusing on science; Kiddo+Preneur, a group advocating to get kids interested in business and entrepreneurship; Island Kid, a program aimed at helping make a brighter future for kids through soccer; Red Light District, which aims to equip Philippine communities to better respond in times of calamities and disasters;The Mush-Keeters, social entrepreneurs who are seeking to build the foundation of a progressive mushroom industry in the Philippines; the Passion Wearthy Project, a social enterprise providing livelihood to people with disabilities; Silent Beads, social enterprise that creates beads and accessories using repurposed materials andPrepper Plus, which aims to promote disaster readiness in the consciousness of every Filipino.
“Filipino life changers have truly proven how creative and how passionate they are in sustaining energy and acting on their desire to make a significant change to the lives of the people around them,” says Pharmaton Senior Brand Manager Bernice Jalgado. “We are very grateful to all those who took part in the Life Changers’ Challenge, and we are really honored to provide the necessary charge for life changers to fulfill their visions and go beyond themselves.”
Pharmaton’s Life Changers’ Challenge: Success in Numbers was conceptualized with the aim of finding passionate Filipinos wanting to create positive change and help them sustain their energy for others and not just for themselves.