In a first of its kind, at least 65 boys and girls enrolled at a public elementary school in Quezon City got their free haircut and other items such as pencils and Chinese steamed buns (siopao) for snacks during the premier weekend launch of Brigada Eskwela on Saturday morning.
A diverse group of employee volunteers also rendered their part, with members representing the corporate transport and petroleum sectors, the call center or business process outsourcing (BPO) and television media industries, and even a university fraternity.
The activity at the Bagong Silangan Elementary School (BSES) bordering Payatas and Batasan Hills in Quezon City on May 21 was two days ahead of the official start on May 23 of the National Schools Maintenance Week, popularly known as Brigada Eskwela.
On its fourth year of joining Brigada Eskwela, the corporate-led Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) spearheaded a group of business companies in the spirit of employee volunteerism, with services which include cleaning of classrooms, tables, chairs, and desks, as well as covering of library books and haircutting services.
L’Oreal Philippines provided the free haircut at the school gymnasium stage, while M&H Food Corporation (Hen Lin) gave the free siopao and Aquabest gave free bottled water.
Employee volunteers at BSES Brigada Eskwela included those from TSM Shipping Phils., MST Marine Service Phils., All Transport Network, and Victory Liner for the corporate transport sector; petroleum firm Flying V; BPO firm Asalus Corp. (Intellicare); and Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and University of the Philippines (UP) Sigma Rho fraternity representing the academe.
Other corporate volunteers were Nesic Phils., Pacific Metals Canada Phils., MediaMeter (M2O), and MediaQuest (TV5), which provided the most number of volunteers. Even visiting media outfit GMA7 assisted in the classroom cleaning.
PBSP earlier said its initiatives relative to Brigada Eskwela have contributed to its overall advocacy in education which is to contribute significantly to an improved and sustained delivery and access to quality basic education.
For this school year, PBSP has targeted mobilizing nationwide at least P10 million for 100 schools who have requested donations for construction materials, textbooks and workbooks, school supplies, computers, desks and chairs, nutrition items and hygiene kits.
During last school year’s Brigada Eskwela, PBSP was able to mobilize at least P1.4 million worth of cash and in-kind donations for 234 schools, as 23 companies supported the call for school equipment donations and employee volunteerism.
BSES, with at least 7,200 students and 152 teachers, has only 64 classrooms serving residents of barangays Bagong Silangan, Payatas, Batasan Hills.
The school has reportedly one of the low-performing records in Metro Manila, with its achievement rate the past three years way below the passing mark, including last year’s measly 53.55 percent.
At least 15 percent of BSES students are reportedly frustrated readers, while 32 percent are either undernourished or malnourished.