Gift-giving sparks students’ hopes in flood-prone Leyte school

Gift-giving sparks students’ hopes in flood-prone Leyte school

 

TANAUAN, Leyte — A gift of school supplies brought back the smile on Jonabel Garcelazo’s face after the recent flooding brought by tropical storm Urduja soaked her most valued learning materials.

Jonabel, whose dream is to become a lawyer, is very grateful for the Christmas gift she got on Thursday, knowing that her mother, Joan, has no means to buy her basic classroom needs.

“This is my first time to receive a gift like this. This really motivated me to study. I am aware that my mother has no budget for new school supplies,” said the Grade 6 srudent, who turned emotional as she grasped a plastic envelope filled notebooks, pens, crayons and papers.

Jonabel’s mother separated from her husband more than 10 years ago and leaving her no choice but to support her three children as a farm laborer, earning only PHP200 daily from eight hours of difficult jobs usually done by men.

“I really want to become a lawyer and help those who are oppressed to fight for their rights,” said Jonabel, although uncertain of who will support her college education.

Jonabel is one of the 156 pupils of Sacme Elementary School who received school supplies through the “Light the World” campaign of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) or commonly known as Mormon Church.

The campus is located in a flood-prone community of Sacme, a farming village in Tanauan, a coastal town in Leyte province.

Surrounded by rice fields, the school suspends classes many times in a year as floodwaters enter classrooms and swamp pathways during typhoon and rainy days.

Teacher Merriam Domael said this act of service is very timely as floodwaters caused by tropical storm Urduja soaked notebooks and papers.

“It breaks my heart seeing some children coming to school without a single piece of paper inside their bags. These gifts really means a lot to us,” Domael shared.

Local LDS church leader Rodel Almeria said churchgoers contributed money to buy school supplies for the Light the World campaign, now on its second year.

The LDS Church launched its global Christmas campaign on Nov. 26, 2017 with the goal to inspire individuals, families, and youth groups to be a light of the world by emulating the Savior’s example of service.Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, the LDS Church has established congregations and built temples in six continents.

From the original six members when the Church was first formed in 1830, the restored Church of Jesus Christ has now grown to a membership of nearly 16 million people, according to its website. PNA-northboundasia.com