I thought it was an ordinary day. But every day in this life, there’s something extraordinary that would make you step forward to make a difference.
It was a sunny day in the serene town of Lake Sebu when we caught up with the students of the T’boli School also known as the School of Indigenous Knowledge, Arts and Traditions (SIKAT) during their flag ceremony. The students from Grade 1 to 6 were singing the Philippine National Anthem with pride and joy.
I approached the adult in purple, whom I presumed to be the teacher. She introduced herself as Ms. Janet, one of the teachers at the T’boli School. I told her that our group wanted to see and observe the students as part of the Soulful Socsargen tour of Explore8 Travel.
Ms. Janet welcomed us with warmth and led us to their “performance area” where we met the other three teachers. One of them is Sir Matthew Farrah, the T’boli School’s officer-in-charge/ principal. He told us that their education system integrates indigenous education.
The SIKAT school has been established in 2002 for the T’boli students who cannot afford a private or public school.
While sharing their stories, the teachers opened up their ordeals. Some of them have been teaching at T’boli School for the last 10 years. As of today, they have only one benefactor who gives them a honorarium of Php 5,000 per month.
Each teacher has to teach two grade levels at a time. According to Ms. Janet, they use a multi-grade level of teaching system since they only have four classrooms to accommodate the students from grade 1-6.
“Minsan nga sasabihin ng isang grade level, ay umulit na naman ang lesson natin?” (Sometimes, the students will notice that their lessons have been repetitive due to the sharing of classroom with a lower grade level.), shared Ms. Janet.
But what struck me the most was when Sir Matthew related that they’ve been using outdated textbooks for seven years now. Sometimes, he borrows textbooks from his kid who’s studying at another school in Lake Sebu just to teach updated concepts to his students.
Listening to their story, we were moved. Hence, the group decided to start the Project T’boli: A literacy fund raising project.
The first SHORT-TERM GOAL is to donate UPDATED TEXTBOOKS from Grade 1-6 as teaching materials to the teachers.
TARGET FUND: Php 15,000 (this amount will be used to purchase the textbooks needed and will be sent to SIKAT School in Lake Sebu).
WHEN: We aim to deliver the textbooks by August 9.
HOW TO HELP/ HOW TO DONATE:
Join the FACEBOOK GROUP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/150363441826844/
You may send your donations:
BPI S/A Explore Eight Travel 0929-2887-77
BDO S/A Joseph James Dy 147-001-0540
IN KIND: You may send reference materials directly to the SIKAT School, details below:
Contact Matthew L. Farrah/ School Officer In Charge/ 09066807536
School of Indigenous Knowledge, Arts and Traditions
Brgy. Lambanig, Poblacion, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
or you may drop your donations at DNA Travel Office, 2F Wellcome Plaza, Puregold Libertad, Pasay City.
For questions, contact Joseph Dy 09177932859 or Izah at 09989766727.
NAME: School of Indigenous Knowledge Arts and Traditions
POPULATION of Students: 113
TEACHERS: 4 teachers teaching elementary, 1 teacher teaching primary (4-6 years old)
SCHOOL LIBRARY: None
TUITION: None. Parents only pay Php 25.00 per student that covers their meals.
Even a small step to help can make a difference. Let’s extend a hand to the T’bolis.