Tacloban City, July 22, 2014 — The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program, in partnership with the Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP), donated 8,702 books to 11 elementary schools on July 18 in Tacloban City to help address the urgent need of students as they return for the new school year. The turnover activity is part of a series of donations to restock the shelves of thousands schools throughout Yolanda-affected areas.
In attendance were Anna Bantug-Herrera, The Asia Foundation’s Acting Deputy Country Representative, Tacloban City Councilor Cristina Romualdez, and Department of Education District Supervisor Miguel Dumas, Jr. Award-winning poet Merlie Alunan and Arjay Babon of Katig Writers Network Inc. led storytelling sessions with students of the schools.
Bantug-Herrera expressed The Asia Foundation’s continuing commitment to education in the Philippines, and appreciation to the Australian Government and the contributing publishers – Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Chronicle Books, Workman, Wisdom Publications, and Temple University Press – for their support of this initiative.
This book donation drive is part of the initiative of the Australian Government’s long-running small grants program, PACAP, managed by The Asia Foundation. PACAP helps beneficiary communities meet their needs through small grants assistance awarded to qualified civil society organizations (CSO) and poor communities. Currently, Australia delivers support towards the recovery of Yolanda-affected communities through PACAP-Yolanda, which aims to build back livelihood assets, expand opportunities for employment, and restore economic production. Since 1986, PACAP has awarded more than 2,200 grants to 1,320 CSOs benefitting 1,460,000 poor people nationwide.
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 putting one million brand-new books into the hands of students, educators, and local and national leaders in 19 countries annually.
Around 1.3 million students have been affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reports that the typhoon resulted in PHP23.9 billion worth of damage and loss to the education sector alone in Eastern Visayas. These include damages to basic education school infrastructure, learning materials, and sanitation facilities.