Philippines WFP Country Director, Stephen Anderson with a group of students from the International School Manila. (Copyright: WFP/Philippines)
Inspired to make a positive change for the world in one week, six 10-year old students take the initiative to help other children living under challenging situations, and in the process realized for themselves the value of reaching out and of having their needs met.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL MANILA, PHILIPPINES Taking up the challenge of International School Manila (ISM) Grade Four Teacher Annie Markovich to make a change in the world in one week, six of her students took the initiative of raising funds for the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Emergency School Feeding (ESF) activities in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao in southern Philippines.
“I wanted [children] in Mindanao to have as much food and education as we do,” said Aoi Hashi, one of the fourth grade students who donated. “I thought it wasn’t really fair since they didn’t get to choose where to be born,” she added.
“We have many stuff and so we felt good donating food so that they won’t get sick”, echoed ten-year old Felipe Vorbeck. In a week’s time, the students raised 2,700 Philippine Pesos or about 60 US Dollars, which provides nutritious meals for 260 school children through WFP’s ESF programme.
“We did a read-a-thon where we were able to put our money together to give to WFP”, said Khullat Alim upon being asked how they were able to donate 60 dollars.
“After we donated, I didn’t feel as guilty as I did before because I knew we were doing something right to help them with their difficulties,” replied Sam Hobbins.
"The students were inspired by the recent immersion trip they made to the Philippine Christian Foundation (PCF) community in Tondo, Manila where they learned about how some children are living in other areas”, narrated Markovich. Tondo is the home of the Smokey Mountain garbage dump site where extremely poor informal settler communities make their living from scavenging through the “mountain of rubbish”.
WFP Philippines Country Director Stephen Anderson personally visited the class of Ms. Markovich in order to thank the students for their donation and to tell them more about WFP’s ESF programme, the challenges of global hunger and the work of WFP in the country. “WFP provides nutritious hot meals in schools, so that these children who are affected by the fighting in those areas can finish their education.
As you know, it’s hard to study when you’re hungry, right?,” Anderson told the students. After listening to Anderson’s presentation, Ian Lee shared that he felt very happy because the less fortunate children can get the food they donated. “I like and I appreciate that the food we donate make them healthier,” he said while showing the flyers he and his group made about WFP. “Our class was broken into different groups. We each chose an organization to support—there was one for PCF, one for GK777 (Gawad Kalinga), and one for WFP.
I talked to my friends about WFP and when my group decided to go for WFP, I was happy because that’s where my dad works and I knew a lot about it,” shared Emma Anderson. In the course of the one-hour session with WFP, the grade four ISM students of Ms. Markovich posed a steady stream of probing questions about hunger and poverty and shared their personal experiences with natural disasters following Typhoon Ketsana in 2009, which, incidentally, was also a calamity that WFP responded to.
For more of the students’ reflections on their outreach activity, please visit http://markovicha.ism-online.org/2011/04/15/wfp-visit/.