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”. #