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Australia, The Asia Foundation Provide New Books to Yolanda-hit Schools

“You’re never alone when you’re reading a book”, a shared longing of more than 1.8 million students who lost homes, schools and preloved books when super typhoon Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas on November 8, 2013.

Ormoc City, March 5, 2014 — As part of its broader support to help improve education in the Philippines, the Australian Government has partnered with The Asia Foundation to help restore the learning resources of schools damaged by super typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas.

Australia donated 2,000 new books to schools hit by typhoon Yolanda in Ormoc City, Leyte through The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program.

“Australia’s support reflects our commitment to help Filipino children have access to quality education especially in Eastern Visayas where typhoon Haiyan left 668 schools damaged. These books from The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program complement Australia’s assistance to Ormoc schools,” Geoff King, acting minister counsellor of the Australian Embassy in Manila, said.

In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, Australia provided immediate support for repairs of schools in Ormoc by sending Australian engineers and military service personnel to help in clearing and repair operations.

King added: “We join The Asia Foundation in the belief that how society pays attention to its schools determines how it values education as a powerful way to overcome poverty. We hope that new books and better classrooms will inspire students to learn while having fun, and to study harder.”

For his part, Ky Johnson, deputy country representative of The Asia Foundation, said, “The damage from typhoon Yolanda didn’t just affect homes, roads, and lives but also the ability of our school children to pursue their dreams through education. We believe that education will help to restore Eastern Visayas.”

Johnson thanked the Australian Government for supporting the Books for Asia program. He said The Asia Foundation is also grateful to McGraw Hill companies for their generous donations of new books to the program.

The book donation project falls under the long-running Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP), a small grants program managed by The Asia Foundation that supports civil society organizations and poor communities throughout the country.

Australia continues to be the Philippines’ lead bilateral grant donor in basic education.

The Books for Asia program distributes free books and supplementary reading materials to schools nationwide as a continuing commitment to promote education and literacy in the country.

Government reports say the Philippines’ education sector alone had a total damage estimated at P21,679.70 million, P11,400 million of which accounts for damage to public basic education school infrastructure. The damage also includes school furniture, computers, learning materials, and sanitation facilities.

Read more about the Foundation and its work in the Philippines.

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