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In the midst of the pandemic, a Sorsogon school has been credited with assisting parents in earning money.

LEGAZPI CITY, PHILIPPINES – Despite the problems posed to the education sector by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the San Antonio Elementary School in Barcelona, Sorsogon was able to provide an additional source of revenue for students’ parents while assisting their pupils in answering modules.

During a ceremony conducted at the Marison Hotel here on Thursday, the project received the “Best Partnership Engagement Activity” award from the Department of Education-Bicol (DepEd-5) for the school.

The winners were chosen based on the DepEd central office’s 2021 “Brigada Eskwela and Brigada Pagbasa” initiative, which was executed countrywide.

Vilma Chavaria, headteacher of San Antonio Elementary School, stated the “May hanapbuhay, Iwas Covid-19 pa” project was one of their school’s promising practices that started in September last year during the awarding of the Best Implementing Schools and Outstanding Volunteers.

“‘Madam, how can we aid our children now that we don’t have jobs or extra income to help with our daily needs?’ a parent asked. Since then, I’ve been thinking of a solution to assist them in gaining a second source of income “In an interview, Chavaria stated.

The soap-making project, she added, is one of the capacity-building activities she started with an initial group of seven parents.

“Through it, I was able to connect with the Barcelona local government unit (LGU), and they taught me how to make soap using the major parts of cosmos (plant) that were readily available on the streets of Barcelona,” she explained.

The LGU provided free instruction, equipment, and supplies, enticing more parents to begin manufacturing soap and eventually selling it.

Aside from soap making, Chavaria said they taught the parents other skills including haircutting and hair rebonding.

She stated that the parents began with a PHP3,000 investment and have now earned more than PHP10,000.

Meanwhile, Ma. Cristina Baroso, regional focal person for Brigada Eskwela and Brigada Pagbasa, revealed that for the 2021 Brigada Eskwela and Brigada Pagbasa projects, a PHP5-billion monetary equivalent of mobilized resources was generated.

“We raised PHP1.2 billion because of the pandemic’s impact in 2020. We now have PHP5 billion in resources thanks to the Brigada Pagbasa program, our volunteer call that began in June and is open to anybody who wants to help and sustain the learning continuity plan ” Says Baroso,” he says.

DepEd-5 was able to enlist 400,000 partners or volunteers for the program through the Brigada Pagbasa, she said, who worked as reading facilitators or tutors for the learners in their community.

LGU funding helped to the success of the 2021 Brigada Eskwela and Brigada Pagbasa, according to Baroso.

The Brigada Pagabasa, according to Gilbert Sadsad, DepEd-5 regional director, will be a big program in terms of learning recovery strategies.

“It will be implemented as one of the region’s initiatives. There were gains in the pupils’ reading development in the reports presented following the evaluation, thanks to the great support from the volunteers “he stated

The DepEd regional office performed an assessment for the best Brigada Eskwela implementors, and from the nominations in the cities and provinces, 26 schools in Bicol were picked as regional awards.

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