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Tzu Chi renovates damaged school buildings in Leyte

June 16, 2018 | Nyanza Nakar

Tzu Chi volunteers visit the Gregorio C. Catenza National High School in Tunga, Leyte few weeks after some of its damaged school buildings was repaired. Early May, the Buddhist organization has hired and sent contractors from Metro Manila to start reconstructing the classrooms damaged by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on November. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】

Story Highlights

  • 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.

  • Patricia Tañala (second from left), principal of Gregorio C. Cantenza National High School, thanks the volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation for a quick response in restoring the damaged classrooms. She also expressed her sincerest gratitude to the organization for providing them three prefabricated classrooms which the students used for about six months. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers speak to hired contractors about the developments of the repair of classrooms in Gregorio Catenza National High School. On June 16, seven classrooms of said schools were fixed and being used by the students and teachers. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】

  • A group of 4th year students of Gregorio C. Catenza National High School is cleaning their classroom. Most of them expressed their gratefulness to the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation as they will be more comfortable in studying. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers visit the Sta. Fe Central School to personally asses the other needs of students and teachers. The organization had delivered the materials to be used in rehabilitation of classrooms and it will start the soonest time. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】

  • Rodel Caceres, one the workers of the Tzu Chi Foundation in rehabilitation of damaged classrooms, shares with a Tzu Chi volunteers about their finished projects. He said that they are working even on Sundays to reconstruct all the schools facilities assigned to their group. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】

  • Workers are unloading the materials for repair of roofing. The project was initiated and funded by the Tzu Chi Foundation which aims to help 32 schools in Leyte province. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】