RD Foundation Launches EM=K² v.2 Project

Hon. Mayor Ronnel Rivera (left) receives a kiddie chair from Ptr. Jireh Mullier Asis (right), member of RD Foundation Board of Trustees

November 4, 2016, RD foundation formally launches the “Edukasyon Mo, Kabuhayan Ko (EM=K²) v.2 project in General Santos City. The event was attended by the local government officials headed by the Hon. City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, day care teachers, day care pupils and their parents. The project will provide 2000 kiddie chairs and 500 kiddie tables to 82 day care centers in the city. Differently abled persons of Gensan PWD Multipurpose Cooperative who manufacture the school furniture will also benefit from the project through the livelihood opportunities to their members.

The lack and sometimes absence of tables and chairs is a common problem among day care centers in General Santos City which has a total of 180 centers catering to 9,396 children. In most centers, the parents had to bring their own chairs for their children while the community find ways to fabricate tables. In areas where parents do not have resources, children seat on the floor while teachers give their best to educate the children. The project aims to provide a conducive learning environment for the day care children aged 2-4 years old while at the same time provide economic opportunities to the persons with disability.

The Gensan PWD Multipurpose Coop. is an organization of differently abled persons with skills in carpentry and furniture making. They had been RD Foundation's partner since 2013 and the project had employed more than 35 PWD members. On top of the livelihood assistance, the foundation also extended technical support to the cooperative through organizational diagnosis facilitation and strategic planning workshops. Dan Alim,   Chairperson of the cooperative said, "We are grateful for the project Edukasyon Mo, Kabuhayan Ko, which RD Foundation entrusted to us. Now we can show to all that being a differently abled person should not be a hindrance to living a normal life. We want to change the perception that we, PWDs are burden to the society with nothing to contribute. We can now prove that we can be productive members of the community if given the opportunity"

The Edukasyon Mo Kabuhayan Ko initiative is a banner project of RD Foundation which started in 2013. It originally aimed to supplement the arm chair needs of public elementary school which later expanded to cover the furniture requirements of day care centers. With strong support from different partners, the project had distributed a total of 8000 arm chairs to 80 public schools in Gen. Santos City and South Cotabato Province. The second version of the project which was piloted last year had distributed a total of 3000 kiddie chairs and 750 kiddie tables to 103 day care centers in Gen. Santos City. RD Foundation targets to reach more areas in the region and hopes to get more partners.