Two Years after Haiyan: Our Tacloban Story

Making a Difference in Communities with Mondelēz International

Reborn in 2012, Mondelēz International continues to put smiles on people’s faces through its delicious, globally-loved, and locally-made products. Even with a new name, the Company carries the same blueprint – creating delicious moments of joy not only through its products like Oreo cookies, Toblerone and Tang.  But also through the impact it is making in communities where it operates.

Recent studies show that more people are now interested in well-being in the broadest sense. People’s concerns include physical health as well as ethical and social responsibility.

For families, it is now important not only for their food to be safe, but even for the community which they live in to remain a place where well-being is given priority. Similarly Mondelēz International believes that well-being is holistic and so it continues to implement programs that benefit individuals, communities, and the planet.

Zooming in Locally. It’s been two remarkable years since Mondelez Philippines started its flagship social responsibility program called Joy Schools with the hope of bringing nutrition education to underprivileged schools in Metro Manila. The program gave birth to heartwarming stories of children who started to improve their nutritional and educational status with the program’s help. Two years after the first implementation of the program, much help is still needed in most elementary schools in Manila, more so in the provinces.

Joy Schools goes to Tacloban. With this in mind, Mondelez Philippines extended the arms of its Joy Schools program right after the horrendous Typhoon Haiyan struck Tacloban City in Leyte. This is in response to the call of the government to help schools rebuild and bring back their operations to normalcy. Mondelez Philippines, after seeing the devastated facilities of Panalaron Central Elementary School and hearing of the traumatic experiences of the community and the students in particular, created a more responsive way in providing their assistance.

Thus, the ongoing 3-year project involves not only rebuilding the school facilities to enable the school to maintain its classes, which is important in the early recovery of the children, but also to bring back joy to their lives by providing a joyful learning environment.

In 2014 the project was able to rebuild the educational infrastructure that helped provide a good learning environment to the students and teachers as well – well before other schools in the area were able to do so, as attested by the teachers.

“If not for Mondelez Philippines, the school would not have improved.  Because of Joy Schools, children were motivated to come to school regularly. The program helped enhance their reading skills, improve their nutritional status, and achieve better results in their academic performance”, said one of the teachers, Mrs. Concepcion Loren.

The 9-month feeding, which began July 2014 resulted in the reduction of the number of severely undernourished students from 175 to 73. Furthermore, the library and reading corners installed in each classroom encouraged students to read.

After a year under the Joy Schools program, Panalaron Central Elementary School Tacloban was able to recover from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan and now sustainably operates as a center for learning and joy.

Two Years Later. Volunteers of Mondelez Philippines returned to Tacloban City to personally witness the continuous improvements in the school. This year, 88 students graduated from Grade 6 and 87 more are set to march early next year. The students begin to show excellence not only in academics, but also in extra-curricular activities. The Company’s employee volunteers can still recall the pride in teachers’ voices each time they talked about the students who were placers and champions at the recent District Level Quiz Bee and District Level Taekwondo meet. It was indeed a day of sharing joy for the employees and the students.

I’m blessed to be part of this experience. Thank you, Mondelez Philippines. These kids will always be my reminder that the most important things in life are love, family and friends.” Shares Jessamine Manalo from the Company’s Sales Function

The program also continues to promote the well-being of the students, their teachers, and their families by conducting teacher training and urban gardening training.

Where to Next? Mondelez Philippines has also started searching new schools to adopt for 2016. The Company might have a long road ahead of it, but it remains optimistic as it continues to see delicious moments of joy being created, one community at a time.