Mindanao Schools Get 23,000 Books From The Asia FoundationMarch 6, 2008 at 4:27 pm | Posted in 1 | 1 Comment
SOUTH COTABATO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 06, 2008) – The Asia Foundation donated 18,000 books Thursday to more than 400 schools in Mindanao and pledged to release more in the southern Philippines. “We will release more books in southern Philippines and we are so happy to help support basic education program in the region,” said Efren Balajadia, director of the Books for Asia Program, of The Asia Foundation. Balajadia said they distributed books and other reference materials in Koronadal City and in South Cotabato province. He said they will also release 5,000 books Friday in at least 155 schools in General Santos City. “Today, we released 18,000 books in 440 mostly public schools in Koronadal and South Cotabato province and we will donate 5,000 more books on Friday in schools in General Santos,” he told the Mindanao Examiner. In December, Balajadia’s group also donated books and reference materials to Gov. Sakur Tan of Sulu province during a two-day peace caravan. Balajadia said they will continue to support the education program in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. Dr Steven Rood, country representative of The Asia Foundation, said the distribution of the books in Mindanao is made possible through The Asia Foundation’s Transparent Accountable Governance (TAG) project with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The provision of books and other educational resources serves as a joint commitment in the campaign for education among communities in South Cotabato and General Santos, he said.
Balajadia also quoted Ky Johnson, the deputy country representative of The Asia Foundation, as saying: “The Asia Foundation is happy to be able to provide educational resources in order to make a difference in the lives of school children in South Cotabato and General Santos.”
“All members of society have to take on the responsibility of mobilizing their resources to create an impact on the performance of their young leaders. With the help of our local governments and private partners, we can help each community as we bring learning to all deserving schools throughout Southern Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines.” Balajadia said.
Since 1954, Books for Asia program has been committed to the belief that knowledge and education are critical for Asian nations to advance their citizens and societies. The program puts nearly one million up-to-date books and resources of the highest quality into the hands of students, teachers, and librarians in 17 Asian countries each year, according to The Asia Foundation.
“Education forms the foundation for all prosperous and democratic societies,” Jon Lindborg, USAID Philippines Mission Director, said in a statement. “The U.S. Government is very proud to support the work of dedicated organizations like The Asia Foundation and committed schools and communities across Mindanao to help improve educational opportunities for school children and young scholars.”
USAID’s program in the Philippines, valued at approximately $80 million in 2008, focuses on strengthening peace in conflict-affected Mindanao, promoting good governance, increasing economic opportunities, protecting the environment, strengthening health services, and improving basic education.
Last year, The Asia Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region, provided more than $68 million in program support and distributed 974,000 books and educational materials valued at $33 million throughout Asia. It depends solely on monetary contributions from donors to accomplish its work.
Reynald Ocampo, Assistant Program Officer-Books for Asia Program, acknowledged the unrelenting support of public and private partners in the endeavor and said U.S. publishers have supplied the books while the Aboitiz2go helped shipped them to Mindanao.
“We are happy to help and look forward to providing more books to other areas in Mindanao,” Ocampo said in a separate interview. (With a report from Mark Navales)