The youngest among five siblings and the only one left studying in her brood, 14-year-old Shelannie Catamco is determined to do everything it takes to fulfill her dream of becoming a school teacher.
Swamped with schoolwork requiring her to do online research despite having no computer at home, she usually does her projects in a nearby internet café where she pays P10 an hour to use one. But with the meager income her father earns as a pedicab driver while her mother takes care of her older siblings’ babies at home, Shelannie already considers that price a luxury.
That burden was recently taken off her shoulders after AboitizPower and its partners donated personal computer sets to her school located in northern Cebu, a project seen to benefit hundreds of young learners in the province and the rest of the Visayas.
Last January 25 and February 7, AboitizPower gave a total of 20 thin-client computer units to Jovencio Masong National High School (JMNHS) in Bogo City and Tapon Elementary School in the municipality of Dumanjug, respectively.
“I am so happy we have new computers because we can now make our projects here. We used to take turns before, and it would take us quite a long time to finish our work,” Shelannie, a grade eight student at JMNHS, said in Cebuano.
AboitizPower, Aboitiz Foundation, and its partner cooperatives donated to each of the schools ten thin-client computer units, accompanying tables and chairs, a four-in-one printer, and projector. This was made possible through collaboration with the Cebu I Electric Cooperative (CEBECO I) and Cebu II Electric Cooperative (CEBECO II).
While Shelannie still has a long way to go before she becomes a teacher, AboitizPower hopes to provide the stepping stones necessary for students like her to reach their dreams.
Rubbie Gelig, the school’s information and communications technology (ICT) program coordinator, said computers are now among the most important media in the teaching-learning process. But with a population of around 700, she said their 50 computer units were not enough to meet the students’ needs.
CEBECO II General Manager Engineer Noel Belciña said, “Whoever has the knowledge, also has the power. With this donation, these students can now have access to a wealth of information from all over the world.”
Eduardo Dacalos, Tapon Elementary School principal, expressed his gratitude to AboitizPower and its partners for choosing the school as a beneficiary.
“We are deeply humbled and honored to have been chosen as one of your beneficiaries,” he said during the turnover ceremony earlier this month.
Dr. Novie Mangubat, Department of Education (DepEd) Cebu Province School Governance and Operations Division chief, said the next computer wizards could now come from schools benefiting from the program.
“You are all so blessed. How can we ever thank the donors? Take good care of the computer sets and enhance the students’ computer skills, eventually producing the next computer wizards,” Mangubat addressed teachers of Tapon Elementary School, which has a population of 537 pupils.
The project aims to complement the national government’s computerization program, an initiative that seeks to provide public schools with appropriate technologies that would enhance the teaching-learning process and meet the challenges of the 21st century.
In 2017 alone, AboitizPower and its partner cooperatives turned over 60 computer sets to six public schools in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte.