Estancia: Before and After

The ISM delegation first visited the Estancia Central Elementary School in the middle of February, 2014. With the 3.2 million pesos from the disaster relief fund specifically raised through the Bearcats for Haiyan campaign, a group of 5 students witnessed firsthand exactly how our donations were going to be used to renovate the three main buildings and gymnasium of the damaged school. Fast forward a year, and how much progress was actually made? A new group of delegates travelled to Ilo-Ilo once again in June to investigate just that.

The moment the delegation arrived at the elementary school on their first day of classes, we all caught sight of what seemed to be a completely different school from the previous year. Where there was once rubble and debris left behind by the typhoon, now stood proper buildings in which a conducive learning environment could be fostered for the students. Specifically inspecting the buildings that our donations had gone towards, we were ecstatic to see that all the 10 classrooms had finally been completed. The transformation from a bare and barren building without walls or roofs into one that was built to be stronger and more durable was incredible to see. What was most rewarding was getting to watch classes and activities be held in those rooms, knowing that we as a bearcat community worked together to make that a reality. No longer would the students have to study outdoors in temporary, crowded shelter, but they now had access to much more space and resources including the stool designed and donated by a group of ISM design technology students, and computers and interactive boards that were donated by both independent and group donors.

It was equally impressive to see the that the construction of the gymnasium that we had raised money for was almost complete, in comparison to when the entire gymnasium floor was covered in debris left by typhoon Haiyan in 2014. Although it hadn’t been completely renovated yet, rest assured the students will be able to use the gym this school year to host events and games. While the class of 2014 was unfortunately unable to use the gymnasium for their graduation in the aftermath of the disaster, we’re hopeful that with the help of ISM’s donations, it will be in excellent condition for this year’s graduation!

Looking at all the positive progress that was made in the span of a year, who knows what’s possible in the next couple of months and the next couple of years? To ensure that we keep an attached relationship with Estancia Central Elementary School and to ensure that we are updated with the developments within the school, Estancia has been designated as an ICARE site this year. I think it’s fair to say that none of us can wait to see how ISM continues to build a strong relationship to the school, and to see what the ICARE site will report back to us in December about any further progress!


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