Twelve temporary classrooms were donated by Tzu Chi Foundation for the students of University of the Philippines Manila School of Health Sciences. The school buildings were severely destroyed by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last November 2013.
As a way of extending thanks to the Buddhist charity group , the students and teachers also helped in assembling and installing the temporary classrooms last February 9.
Three months after typhoon Yolanda, the students from the University of the Philippines Manila School of Health Sciences (UPMSHS) in Palo municipality, Leyte earnestly hope that classes would resume in their school and recover from the tragedy that befell upon them.
Up until now, destroyed buildings are seen within the school’s premises. The buildings cannot be cleared of debris yet because of asbestos – a fiber that was used as insulation (and a chemical that was proven to have adverse effects on health). The cleanup needs the help of a toxicologist.
“After the typhoon, we don’t know how to start again because the school was almost completely wiped out and many of our students’ dormitories were destroyed as well. It’s really sad to think that our school heavily bore the typhoon’s brunt,” says Anabel Ganzo, one of the professors in the university.
Although the establishment was severely destroyed by Yolanda, Ganzo is still grateful that Tzu Chi Foundation was there to help them on their way to recovery, especially for the school’s class resumption.
The Buddhist group installed 12 makeshift classrooms in the campus of the University of the Philippines Tacloban last February 9. Five of these will serve as classrooms while the rest will be used as dormitories for the students. More than 200 students will benefit from this donation.
In a meeting with the Tzu Chi volunteers, the UP administration of the School of Health Sciences suggested that several of these prefabricated rooms could be used as dormitories so that students will not have a difficult time in travelling from Palo to Tacloban.
Consequently, many students helped the Tzu Chi volunteers in installing the units. The former showed their interest in learning like screwing bolts using a battery-operated screw driver. One of them is 19-year-old Rosielen Colibato.
“We are here to help because you also helped us. Despite what we’ve been through after the storm, I’m glad that someone like (Tzu Chi) came here to help us. It’s wonderful to know that we are slowly recovering again,” she says.
Colibato hails from a poor family in Parañaque City, and thankfully, she was accepted as a scholar in UPMSHS. Since college, she stays in a boarding house in Palo. Sadly, the house where she stays was also wiped out by the strong typhoon last November.
Professor Sylvia Sustento could not find the words to say in extending her thanks to the Buddhist organization for their invaluable help. She volunteered to assist in installing the makeshift classrooms as a way of giving importance to the organization’s aid.
“The students really wanted to help in the assembling of classrooms because they are happy with you (Tzu Chi) in coming here. There is no help that’s too little or big when everyone’s effort is concerned,” says the Biology instructor.
According to Sustento, they plan to resume classes on February 15 after the installation of these rooms.
Aside from the teachers and students, several businessmen from Tacloban City also chipped in their efforts for this activity. They have their own businesses to attend to but chose to forgo it momentarily so that they could help in the installation of the makeshift classrooms. One of them in Donnie Young.
“I saw how Tzu Chi Foundation managed to help the whole of Tacloban. That’s why we decided to form a group who will assist in constructing the makeshift classrooms. It feels nice to help out,” he mentions. He was among the Filipino Chinese businessmen who headed in Palo last February 9 to erect the temporary learning spaces.