Since May, Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines have started renovating the damaged roofing of the school buildings in the province of Leyte. The Buddhist group had contacted a contractor from Manila and send them to the said province for the construction works.
The Buddhist group targets helping 36 schools in Leyte, which have been badly destroyed by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013. Around 195 classrooms are expected to be rehabilitated by the organization.
Last May, Tzu Chi Foundation started the renovation of the school buildings damaged by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the province of Leyte. Prior to this, the Buddhist group had assembled prefabricated classrooms for the schools where classes have been put up brought about by the ruined facilities.
Today, as the organization gears up for the next phase of its rehabilitation efforts, it aims to help 32 schools by restoring its roofs. By the end of this project, about 195 classrooms will become useful again for the students.
For the construction works, Tzu Chi Foundation contacted a contractor from Manila and brought them to Leyte.
The group of Rodel Caceres have been working at putting roofs into the school buildings for more than a month already.
“We are hurrying the renovation so the students may use it the soonest possible time. My team comes here to work even on Sundays,” he says.
His fellow worker, Melchor Abenoja, do not mind the workload because for him, it is a way of helping his calamity-stricken fellowmen.
“I am happy doing my job because Tzu Chi is helping the government reach far-flung areas. I am grateful that Tzu Chi is helping the schools destroyed by the storm,” he says.
The workers are part of the group working for the rehabilitation in Tunga Central School last June 15.
According to Abenoja, some of the beneficiary schools where renovation is already underway are Gregorio Catenza National High School, Alangalang Elementary School, and Dulag High School.
The principal of Gregorio Catenza National High School extended his thanks for Tzu Chi Foundation’s immediate response about their shortage of school rooms. The said school has a population of 1,300 students.
“Whenever it rains the roofs leak, soaking us but there’s no other place where we can bring our students,” he says. He added that Tzu Chi Foundation is the first organization to help their school.
“Today, the students have moved in to their new classrooms, where they can sit more comfortably and the teachers can teach in ease.”
This was seconded by Niña Athena Ariza, a second-year student. “We are grateful that our rooms have roofs now. It can already shelter us from the elements and we can study better,” shares the 13-year-old student.
Gregorio Catenza National High School received 3 prefabricated classrooms from Tzu Chi Foundation. These temporary classrooms have sheltered the students and teachers within three months.
Now that they have permanent rooms, the said school will still use the prefabricated classrooms as school library and a classroom for one subject.
“The prefabricated classrooms are big help because it had allowed us to hold our classes. The education of the students was not put off for long. It means a lot especially when the students were a graduating batch. This summer, they were able to finish their high school,” shares teacher Maria Alda Catenza.
Tzu Chi volunteers caught Catenza’s students cleaning their classroom, which is on the second floor of a school building. This is one of the facilities that Tzu Chi’s contractors have successfully renovated.
“At present, we are helping renovate the school buildings damaged by the storm. With this help, we can see the happiness of the teachers and students. Today, they can hold their classes in comfort,” ends Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Alfredo Li.