REDy for Action! 

Article by: Lucas Ramos

The Philippines is far from a perfect country, and one of the ways that this is shown is through its educational system: How can students learn without the necessary chairs and tables to sit and use? Especially after the recent damage caused by Hurricane Ruby, schools had furniture that was in disarray. Fortunately, that’s where ReD comes in; standing for “Renovate to Educate,” it is a non-government organisation that aims to repair all damaged furnitures that schools have. During our (short) iCare week, we took all of these chairs and tables and did our best to ensure that they could be in use again for the students in the local schools.

When we arrived at the school we wasted no time in getting to work; there had been enough lost time already. The focus was on chairs, chairs, and more chairs with hundreds of them lying around the gym we were in. Carpenters demonstrated to students how to repair wobbly chairs by adding an additional cross-brace between its legs, which students learned quickly and replicated on the numerous ones present.The covered area was a cacophony of pounding nails and screeching saws, all of them getting us closer to our ultimate end goal.

The second day was just as intense of an experience. Already familiar with what needed to happen, people quickly began to work on all of the remaining chairs. However, halfway throughout the day the focus of what needed to be done switched from hammering and repairs to the sanding of edges and painting. The paint would serve as protection for the wood itself so that it wouldn’t be too damaged in the coming years it will endure. In addition to chairs, people restored other things such as bookshelves and tables. Some chairs were even made from scratch; the back parts were cut from fresh pieces of wood and put onto a wireframe outline. While this day was generally quieter than the first, there was no difference to what we were able to accomplish.

At the end of these two days, the amount of work produced was astounding. All-in-all, roughly two hundred chairs that were previous unusable could be used again by students of various public schools. This feat impressed many, especially those who had been switched in from provincial iCares. Steve Nam said that “Going to ReD was a really enjoyable experience because I was able to repair many chairs for school communities and gain a sense of fulfilment.” As a ReD veteran, going there three times in my High School life, I was impressed with the work that was done in two days. The losses from Ruby only inspired us to work harder.