Friday, December 6, 2013

Mano Amiga community helps in the Yolanda relief efforts

Days after Typhoon Yolanda struck the country, Mano Amiga Academy community organized a relief effort to help the victims of the super typhoon. Despite of their limited resources, the Mano Amiga scholars and their parents extended their sympathy by donating their hard-earned money, as well as  relief items such as used clothes, books and food packs. The students prepared prayer cards and included them in the relief goods to help bring smiles and hope to the survivors.

Bistro 3846 also joined the effort by donating proceeds from the snack sales to purchase medicine for the Yolanda victims. In just two weeks, the team was able to raise over 3,000 pieces of needed medicine which were brought to survivors living in Tacloban, Malapascua and Coron.

The spirit of compassion, love, and camaraderie brought everyone together. Everyone worked hand in hand in the hope that their simple help would help alleviate the suffering of the survivors and bring them hope and peace.

A simple prayer was prepared by the principal and teachers which they offered for the special intentions of those who were affected by the storm:

We pray for the victims of tropical storm Yolanda. May those who have lost homes and properties find shelter, enough food and clean water.

Comfort those who are traumatized and those who are grieving for the loss of their families, neighbors and friends. Bless those who are sick and those who are injured that their health may be restored and their wounds cured.

May you lead all who are stranded or lost back to those who love them. Guide the hands of the rescuers, the doctors and nurses and other volunteers and give them strength as they serve others with joy.

May this calamity bring people closer together, to help each other and to care for the environment. Give us the faith, hope and love to carry on. This we ask through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

THANK YOU SO MUCH Advance Paper Corporation!

Photo shows (L-R): Ms. Kris Garcia from Mano Amiga Academy, Mr. Keith Bryan Haw the Vice President of Advance Paper Corporation, Ms. Rev Tria Siasoyco, Mano Amiga Principal and Mano Amiga kindergarten scholars

Mano Amiga scholars received an early Christmas treat from Advance Paper Corporation!

Last October 3, Mr. Keith Bryan Haw, the Vice President of Advance Paper Corporation, one of the leading paper product companies in the Philippines, visited Mano Amiga and graced the turnover of more than 1,300 notebooks and other office supplies for Mano Amiga  Academy and it scholars. Mano Amiga Academy is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to help underprivileged children from low-income families lift themselves out of poverty through quality education and holistic formation.

“We are very grateful for the generosity of the Advance Paper Corporation, especially Mr. Haw who in spite of his busy schedule found the time to visit the school.  We are very excited about the new partnership and we are looking forward to strengthening our collaboration.” said Mano Amiga Academy Institutional Development Manager Kris Garcia.

The donation will help provide 109 Mano Amiga scholars from kindergarten to Grade much needed school materials to help prepare for another year of learning and discovery! This effort is part of the Advance Paper Corporation’s initiative to give back to the community by sharing its high quality, affordable and innovative products to provide the children an optimum learning experience. #

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Richelle's Run for a Cause

Richelle May Penalba, a Fil-American based in California is running 13.1 miles at the Long Beach Half Marathon for the first time to raise funds for education scholarships.  Her goal is to raise $1,200 from pledges to be able to send two children to Mano Amiga Academy for one whole year!

 In 20 days, 23 people have already supported her cause enabling her to raise $751 about a month to go before the marathon won October 13, 2013. She plans to visit the Philippines this coming December so she could personally meet the Mano Amiga scholars she'll be helping. 

Please spread the word and support Richelle in her endeavor to finish her first ever marathon and to provide two deserving children a full scholarship in the school.  

You may learn more about her project at: http:///  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Michael Kors and SSI conducts feeding program in Mano Amiga

Michael Kors in action

The article below found on the website of SSI, talks about their experience with our Mano Amiga scholars in a partnership feeding program with Children’s Hour.

More than just being a market leader in the world of fashion, Michael Kors, the premium lifestyle brand that has brought classic pieces of timeless elegance, has also been exerting tremendous efforts to alleviate the issue of world hunger. Stores Specialists Inc. (SSI), the exclusive distributor of Michael Kors in the Philippines wholeheartedly supported the brand’s global movement through partnering with Children’s Hour.

The long-standing value of SSI for social responsibility is alive through its continuous efforts to organize outreach activities that address different social issues.

Through the company’s CSR effort, aSSIst, “SSI always finds a way to do its share in helping out and giving back to the community,” said Michael Huang. This is also why joining Michael Kors’ fight against hunger was a natural response to them. “The issue is not something invisible to us here in the Philippines. It’s sad that this is a big issue but the hunger problem is not unsolvable,” Huang added.

Kors cares

It was a meaningful experience as SSI employees gave their time to prepare healthy lunches and meet the bright and active children of Mano Amiga Academy in Taguig City this July. Founded in Mexico in 1963, Mano Amiga Academy’s mission is to offer high-quality education to underprivileged children. The school’s specially-conceptualized curriculum aims to provide children with an education that is at par with the best private schools in the world, to widen their horizons and effectively motivate them to have higher aspirations in life. Through the non-profit organization Children’s Hour, SSI has been sponsoring the 27 kids from Mano Amiga’s second-grade class since 2011.

The volunteers from SSI visited and engaged the kids of Mano Amiga in a series of activities that included fun storytelling, educational games, and personal one-on-one time as they shared the hearty, healthy lunches they prepared. On the final day of activities, genuine smiles were abound despite the rainy weather as the 109 kids of Mano Amiga Academy each received two bags filled with a carefully-selected assortment of nutritious groceries to take home to their families.

The kids thanked SSI and Michael Kors through a feel-good performance of the song “Lean on Me”. They also expressed their sincere gratitude with artwork which they personally created during their art class, thanking “Mr. Michael Kors for feeding the hungry around the world.” On behalf of SSI, Michael Huang received the precious gift, together with a banner that read “#WatchHungerStop,” the campaign’s official social media tag, signed by SSI’s 27 Mano Amiga scholars.

United Nations World Food Programme for this mission, the brand released the “100 Series” watch as part of its WATCH HUNGER STOP campaign. For each watch sold, 100 children in a hunger-stricken area will receive a nutritious meal. The watch has a detailed map of the world etched on the colorful dial, along with the words “100 Series.” Michael Kors’ signature is engraved on the back, as is the campaign name, WATCH HUNGER STOP, and the message “1 WATCH = 100 MEALS.”

The collaboration of SSI and Michael Kors was indeed an inspiration to urgently and consciously address the world hunger crisis. July being Nutrition Month, the endeavor was also quite timely and apt. Geenette Garcia, Assistant Executive Director of Children’s Hour, commended this movement and said, “For us, they become stronger champions of Children’s Hour. They become stronger champions of children.”

Mano Amiga has a New Home!!!

The photo above shows the awarding of the Php 10M donation 
by MPCI last September 3, 2013.

Mano Amiga Academy will have a new home!

Mano Amiga recently welcomed the ber month with an early Christmas present. The school received a Php 10M donation from Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, Inc. (MPCI) and another PhP 10M from a private donor to acquire a 2,350 sq.m property in Paranaque which will be the site of the new campus of Mano Amiga. 

The school will now be able to accommodate at least 780 scholars in the new space.Our heartfelt gratitude to everyone supporting the project.

Kuya Arman Finally Learns ABC's

 Armando De Leon, 38 years old, didn’t know how to read or write. He spent most of his life on the streets. A “kariton’ was his definition of a house. His family would take shelter under bridges and abandoned buildings when a typhoon would hit the Metro. His story represents one of the most common cases of illiteracy and poverty in the country.

It was his everyday life until a Regnum Christi missionary took him out of the streets to give him a better life. His family was bathed, fed and given a decent job to start over his life.

Armando or Kuya Arman as how he is fondly called, now works for Bistro 3846 as a dishwasher. During the summer, a generous Everest parent Mrs. Jehan Rodriguez started teaching Kuya Arman and his son Cyrus how to read and write. The lessons were held everyday. In the most ironic circumstance, Kuya Arman and his son Cyrus are classmates.

In an interview, Kuya Arman shared his thoughts and experiences.

1. Why do you think is it important to read and write?
Mahalaga po para hindi maging ignorante at mangmang kung san ka pumunta. Tulad po ng simpleng pagsakay sa jeep. Kailangan tanungin saan papunta dahil hindi makabasa. Si Cyrus naman importante para sa anak ko na matuto siya para paglaki niya hindi siya maging palaboy na katulad namin kase wala kaming pinag-aralan. Gusto ko makapag-aral siya, makatapos siya at makapagtrabaho siya ng maganda. Pangarap ko po kasing may makita na may nag-aaral akong anak.

It is important to learn to read and write so you don’t become ignorant and illiterate. As simple as riding a jeepney, I need to ask where is it headed because I could not read. For my son, Cyrus it is important for him to learn so he doesn’t have to be like me, I lived in the streets because I was illiterate. I want him to be educated, to be able to finish school and land a decent job. It is my lifelong dream to see my child going to school.

2. How did you feel when you could not read or write?
Ang liit ng pakiramdam ko. Parang wala kang alam sa mga tinatanong o wala kang masabi yung ignorante ka hindi mo alam kung ano yung nakasulat sa harap mo dahil  gustuhin mo man at subukan ko mang intindihin hindi ako makapag-basa.
I felt small. I didn’t know what people were asking me or I couldn’t say anything because I was ignorant. I completely do not know what was written in front of me because even if I would like to understand it, I couldn’t read.

3. What has changed in your life?
Malaki dahil ngayon na natuto na ko , yun bang naiintindihan ko na yung mga bagay, si Cyrus kung pagsisikapan niya makakapag-aral siya. Si Cyrus kase yung unang anak kong makakapag-aral kung sakali.

A lot has changed especially now that I could read. I could understand things. My son Cyrus, if he would work hard, he may be able to go to school. Cyrus would be the first among my children to be able to go to  school.

4. What is your message to Mrs. Rodriguez?
Nagpapasalamat po ako ng malaki kay Mrs. Rodriguez kasi tinuturuan niya po kami. Malaking bagay yun para sa amin kasi yung buhay namin andun sa tinuturo niya. Tulad ko matanda na ko hindi na ko makakapasok sa eskwelahan pero malaking bagay kasi yung matuto andun lahat yun e, pag natuto ka magkakatrabaho ka ng maganda o makakapag-aral ka. Kaya nagpapasalamat po ako kay Mrs. Rodriguez.

I would like to sincerely thank Mrs. Rodriguez because she taught us. It is a big deal for us to learn because our life depends on it. I’m old and I won’t be able to go to school anymore but it is important to learn. If you learn, you will be able to land a decent job, or you will be able to go to school. This is why I’m really thankful to Mrs. Rodriguez.

For Mrs. Rodriguez, teaching is about transforming lives. For Cyrus, it is learning his ABC’s could help him land a Mano Amiga scholarship that could help build his dreams and his future. For Kuya Arman, learning how to read and write could help him maximize his skills to better provide for his family and keep them from living on the streets. #

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mano Amiga Alphabet Book

Halo-Halo World founder and chief story teller Jan Vincent Ong shares his experience working with our Grade 3 and Grade 4 scholars.

The Mano Amiga Magic is in Humility: Kids teaching us our basic ABCs

I am a former executive for a non profit that dealt with creating peace education programs for many public schools in Manila and Mindanao. Thus, I’ve been exposed to the culture of various academic administrations. The constant is that their always opposition or skepticism to placing a new program into a curriculum. Yet, there is always one champion to rally your program into it. In relation to Mano Amiga Academy, the difference is that everyone is a champion of change.

Everyone is a changemaker. From Principal Rev to Teacher Anne, each person is willing to humbly listen to anyone coming to their door and who wants to collaborate for a better school. This is the reason that I approached Mano Amiga to develop a digital children’s book for their kids with them. I wasn't fearful that my ideas would be shot down at all. There would be a true creative collaboration that put the kids first.

My expectations weren't wrong. The program I proposed would be to make a book made by the teachers for their kids. Yet, it surprisingly and wonderfully turned into a Filipino alphabet book made by the kids themselves to teach other kids their ABCs.

Hence, the outcome was better than imagined as the book was given to full ownership by the students themselves. The kids drawing and coloring would hone their artistic talent in creating the book.  Also, it would be proof of their mastery in the subject that they would be able to share it with the younger grades. And for the adults, we would be taught that making a book isn’t so difficult. It only takes daily diligence to create works of art. After the idea for the book was planned out, I coordinated online with   teacher Sheryll, Kean and Anne on regular basis to monitor the progress of the book. I was always excited to open my emails to see how the illustrations brought to life by the students.

However, I only truly understood Mano Amiga’s mission when I recorded the student’s voices for them to say the words within the book. 

As I taught them how to record their voice on a computer, their eyes lit up so bright and even more so when they heard themselves back. It was an experience that we both would never forget.. Then, I completely saw that Mano Amiga was more than only tackling physical poverty. Its mission is to give their students true leverage by bringing them out of the poverty of experience. It is the lift them up by exposing them to experiences that bring them to new and better chapters in their lives. As such, I also understood why their teachers are so humble to listen to volunteers that can add to this experience.

This is why I am filled with gratitude to be part of their story as they grow up to be change makers themselves and will continue to read about the ongoing narrative of this school. I hope that my life intertwines with the kids again in the future in making the best Philippines that there can be. #

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rebuilding one's life: Elisa's story

 Elisa Matipo, mom of Grade 1 scholar Cyril Matipo and the latest addition to the Bistro 3846 staff, expresses her gratitude and joy of being a part of the Mano Amiga family.

“Blessing po talaga yung Mano Amiga sa amin dahil si Cyril nakakatanggap ng magandang edukasyon. Kung wala pong Mano Amiga baka nasa Tenement lang po sila pareho o baka hindi nakapag-aral si Cyril”

According to Elisa, Cyril studies the same lessons as that of CJ’s, her son who is a grade 5 student in Tenement public school.

“Si CJ po minsan mababa yung grades dahil hindi na naiintindihan yung turo dahil di na niya naririnig yung tinuturo kase 60 sila sa klase. Kaya minsan si Cyril na ang nagtuturo kay CJ pag di niya naiintindihan”
Elisa thinks that her daughter, Cyril received a far better education than she did when she was Cyril’s age.

“Malaking bagay din po na si Cyril marunong na magrosary kahit 6 palang siya. Si CJ po 11 na hindi pa kabisado yung Our Father. Malaki rin tulong yung Bible Study sa parents tuwing Tuesday kay Father Michael. Naiintindihan ko na yung misa at mas naibabahagi ko ng tama sa mga anak ko”

She also shares that her daughter Cyril has a very distinct study habit than her brother CJ. She believes that the education that Cyril is getting fully transforms her daughter not just academically but even her behavior at home.

“May mga oras na tinatanong ako ni Cyril bakit yung ibang bata hindi nagrereview. Bakit si kuya hindi nagrereview kahit may exam si kuya hindi siya nagrereview hindi niya binubuksan un libro niya. “

She shares that every time Cyril gets home from school, she eats her dinner and does her home work and studies her lessons for the next day. Cyril dreams to be a great doctor to help the sick and to be able to take care of her mother when she’s old.

Elisa believes that Mano Amiga and Bistro 3846 allowed her family to rebuild their lives and have a more sustainable source of income for her family.

“Iba po yung pakiramdam na yung trabaho pong ginagawa naming ditto sa Bistro ay direktang nakakatulong sa mga anak namin. Naiintindihan naming na pag mas madami kaming nabebenta, mas marami kaming naibabahagi para sa pag-aaral ng mga anak namin at ibang bata sa Mano Amiga”. #

Saturday, June 29, 2013

100 Pesos for a Dream

Help us reach our goal of sending more kids to school! 

People can now donate to Mano Amiga through Groupon Philippines. Your donation of 100 Pesos will help fund the scholarship of a child including a daily hot meal for the student.
Please feel free to share or click here if you'd like to help:

Be a part of our collective future! Give a child the gift of quality education today! #100ForaDream

Monday, June 24, 2013

Conversation with a little boy

Teacher Anne vividly recounts her peculiar conversation with one of our scholars.

One of my students was absent yesterday. He’s usually absent because he wakes up late or he has no food to eat. So this morning, I decided to ask my student why has he been absent and late the past few days.

The soft-spoken little boy replied, “Nung Sabado’t Linggo po kasi may sakit na si mama, inalagaan ko po, eh kahapon po hindi pa rin po magaling si mama kaya po binantayan ko po at inalagaan. Kanina lang po naging okay kaya po pumasok na ako.” (Mom had been sick since Saturday. Yesterday, she wasn’t feeling any better so I had to stay home to take care of her. She was back this morning so I was able to go to school today.)

My world turned to a complete stop. In front of me was a little boy who had something not many have, the purity of the heart.

A Banana Monday

School Director, Revelyn Tria-Siasoyco shares her interesting Monday morning encounter with one of our scholars.

Ramila is a 6 year-old grade one student. Her Class Adviser was absent so I took over her Science class. While preparing for snack time, Ramila gave me a banana and said “Teacher Rev, Sa iyo na po itong saging.”(Please take this banana.)

I replied, “Bakit? mas kailangan mong kumain ng prutas”( But why, you need  more fruits than I do) then she whispered “Kasi gusto ko po kayo maging mama (Because I want you to be my Mama) Surprised with what she said, I asked her Why? She replied “Kasi wala po si mama (because my mom is not around!) So I took the banana and told her I am also her mother while she is in school.  

They say bananas are a great “mood food” as they make your brain produce more chemicals to promote good mental health.  Ramila’s banana did not only help in promoting good mental health, but it instantly nourished my soul by releasing the happy hormones I needed to start the week!