Bacjawan Elementary School and Why it Matters to Rotary

In the early part of July of 2018 I was fortunate to ride along with members the Rotary Club of  Metro Iloilo and Rick Nava of  Rotary Club of Lahaina. Our goal was to provide school supplies and materials for three schools in Concepcion: Bacjawan Elemetary, Danao Danao Elementary and Mailogilog Elementary. 

I went on a vacation to Iloilo. Iloilo is the capital city of the province of Iloilo in the island called Panay. It’s situated right in the heart of the Philippines  located in a region called the Visayas. Although most of the people speak Tagalog, their native dialect is Ilongo. 

Iloilo is a small but growing city with similarities to Honolulu. It’s a  tropical city surrounded by small islands. Seafood is a abundant many festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Iloilo people are quite possibly the  friendliest people that you will ever meet in the Philippines.  I really don’t know why – but everyone I talked to and met they just seem very nice and easy going.  They remind me of people here in Hawaii.  

From Iloilo is about  a two hour ride  to the  town  of Concepcion. This is where the  location of Bacjawan Elementary is at and where we will be deliver school supplies to over  over 450 students. The school supplies were respectfully donated by Rotary Club of Metro Iloilo and Rotary Club of Lahaina. 

About Bacjawan Elementary

Bacjawan Elementary was once a small school of only 1st and 2nd graders.  In November of 2013, the Visayas was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, doing severe damage to the region.  The once small school of Bacjawan saw a massive influx of new students displaced by the typhoon.  It now has over 360 students starting from kindergarten to 6th grade. 

The school had to make due to accommodate the displaced students. 8 makeshift classrooms were built from thatch coconut leaves and bamboo. There are no walls.  Instead dried bamboo strung together is what separate each classroom. The floor is made of dirt and there is no lighting: making it difficult for students to learn and get a proper education. 

 

Most of the students in Bacjawan Elementary come from poor families. Some of them lost their homes during the typhoon. Therefore, proper hygiene and sanitation has gone mainly ignored by the students and the school itself. Their more focused on the means of survival and trying to make ends meet with whatever resources they have at the school. 

 There are only two toilets  for the entire school: 1 for boys, and the other for girls. They have no library and there is very  limited teaching materials and textbooks n in all of their classrooms.  

Bacjawan’s resources : 

  • 2 bathrooms – 1 boys, 1 girls
  • No Library 
  • 8 out of 11 classrooms are makeshift classrooms
  • Limited teaching materials such as textbooks
  • One Office for  everything-  administrations,  faculty room, meeting room, etc.
  • No Plumbing 
  • Poor Hygiene and Sanitation
  • No policy of cleanliness and good hygiene 

I wanted to conclude on a happy note. Our goal there was to pass school supplies to over 450 students. The school supplies goes to 3 schools in Concepcion: Bacjawan elementary, Danao Danao Elementary on Danao Danao island, and to Mailogilog Elementary – also on another island off Concepcion. It was a heartwarming and fun event – especially to see the kids faces.

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