Promoting Learning Continuity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected the global economy but has also disrupted the education of nearly 1.6 billion learners all over the world. In the Philippines, public schools remain closed, which means that children have been at home for almost seven months. This equates to reduced opportunities for poor children to continue learning. To minimize the negative effect of the education disruption among our beneficiaries, Tiwala pursued the following initiatives:

Reading modules and educational tablets roll out 

Many of the children in our target communities do not have a desk, books, digital devices to connect to internet, or other educational resources. To help them continue to learn during the community quarantine, we designed a reading program for them, and it’s been running for over two months now. 
It was no easy task because it required sleepless nights for the staff team as we crafted more than 70 lessons, printed, and distributed them to each child. Then we had to collect and check each lesson, putting corrections and comments, and then gave the modules back to them. It was a lot of work but well worth it as we saw the progress of the kids and received messages of gratitude from their parents for giving their children learning opportunities as they stay home. 
Aside from buying and putting many books into the hands of more than 150 Tiwala children, we also rolled out our educational tablets preloaded with e-books and educational apps to provide them with more resources and enrich their learning process. As expected, the kids always looked forward to the days when it’s their turn to use the tablets! 

Provision of educational resources

Classes are scheduled to start on October 5 and so we provided our 17 Tiwala scholars with the educational tools that they need for the new academic year. Aside from school bags and school supplies, we also distributed grocery items for their families, as well as hygiene kits to protect them from illnesses. Moreover, they will be receiving online tutorials and coaching from us. Thank you so much to our donors who are sponsoring the studies of these scholars as they face the challenges of learning during this pandemic!
Meanwhile, more than 150 Tiwala beneficiaries received school supplies from our partners. Pasa-buy, an online local business providing services and products to Bicolanos, donated notebooks. Mission Go Global sent school supplies, hygiene kits, and toys to keep the children motivated to learn. A Tiwala friend also distributed Bibles for the kids to use in their homes. We are grateful for all these people who continue to extend compassionate help to the communities we are serving!

Webinars and face mask production
It’s not just the kids who are continuing to learn amid this pandemic – the staff of Tiwala too! The team is taking advantage of the many webinars available online in order to learn more about child protection, program management, spiritual nourishment, and teaching strategies. From September to November, we are attending the free webinars of “Ako Para Sa Bata” by the Child Protection Network. The topics and resources tackled  every Tuesday and Thursday morning are very helpful in terms of increasing the capacity of the staff in the effective delivery of our  programs and services to our beneficiaries. 

The staff are also learning new skills – sewing face masks and running an income generating project. With the use of the donated sewing machine we received a few months ago, we were able to make cloth face masks that we distributed for free to our beneficiaries.  We then designed adult masks for selling – including origami ones made from batik cloth. The past two months that we dabbled in this project, we sold more than 500 face masks! This venture has given opportunities for several Tiwala moms to resell the face masks and gain a small profit from it. We hope to expand this “mini-business” by crafting other products that Tiwala parents can resell in their communities. Aside from giving additional income to Tiwala families, the proceeds from these initiatives go toward funding the educational projects for the children involved with Tiwala.

COVID-19 may have posed new challenges for us in doing ministry but it has also pushed us to innovate and be creative on how we can continue in our mission of building strong foundations in the lives of poor children and families here in Bicol, Philippines. Thank you very much for your prayers, words of encouragement, and practical help. Your partnership enables us to make a difference in the lives of our beneficiaries. We pray that you and your loved ones are also enjoying the Lord’s provision and protection amid this pandemic. 

Tiwala Team