a new dawn - a vision of hope

Philippines report - September 2011

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The story of the 40 Philippines boxes started when Jane Walker, CEO of the Philippines Community Fund (PCF) gave a talk about her work in Manila to the Annual Conference of Rotary District 1110, a district which approximates to what 1,000 years ago, would have been termed Wessex, although it does also include the Channel Islands.  The Philippines Community Fund (PCF) was already involved with three separate schools, providing education for children living on rubbish dumps and in squatter areas, and work was in progress on a new school for 1,000 pupils, a four storey building being constructed in Tondo, from 74 recycled shipping containers (photo below shows the finished school).

Dennis Meadus is the Literacy Officer for the District and has been a great supporter of the Literacy in a Box Trust.  He invited Jane to talk to his own Portsmouth and Southsea club with the result that the club agreed to set aside £1,000 to provide Literacy Boxes for the new school.  Unfortunately, to provide equipment for 1,000 children we needed to send 40 boxes which, at £225 per box required £9,000 in total.

However, with additional donations from the Rotary Club of Jersey (£1,000), our own Roborough Rotary Club (£600)and the agreement of the Rotary Club of Makita Neilson to make a token contribution of £60 and oversee the project, we were able to tap into various grants from the Rotary organization.  We won't attempt to bore you with the complexity of the grant formula or the application process but after a few nail-biting weeks we finally received confirmation that we would have the funds required to send the full 40 boxes on the PCF container leaving Southampton in May 2011.

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On 12th August 2011 the boxes arrived at the now completed container school.

The Trust owes a huge debt of gratitude to Dennis Meadus who was the driving force behind both the donations from the Portsmouth and Southsea and Jersey clubs, and the securing of the various matching grants.

Another major contributor to the success of this enterprise was Becton Dickinson.  The global medical technology company has a manufacturing facility on the Belliver Industrial Estate just outside Plymouth and they generously provided us with both warehouse facilities for storing and packing and transported the packed boxes to Southampton where they were loaded on to a PCF container for transport to Manila.  Since all of the transport costs were met by Becton Dickinson and PCF, we were able to reduce our usual box price of £250 to £225.

We would also like to thank Mapac of Watford Ltd., our suppliers of backpacks, who donated 1,000 children's hats, and Sports Direct of Plymouth who donated 10 footballs, all of which were packed in our boxes sent to the Philippines.

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In a recent PCF newsletter Jane's colleague Julie Tunnicliffe confirmed that "Every classroom in our new school will benefit from a box of literacy items thanks to the hard work of the Portsmouth and Southsea Rotary Club and the Literacy in a Box Trust... thank you to Dennis Meadus and Ian Parker for all your support."  Dennis has confirmed that the "Portsmouth and Southsea Rotary Club is aiming to provide continuity of supply to the new school so that the children will always have the motivation of working with the materials so critical for their education."

There are lots more photos in our web site gallery where we tell a full pictorial story of the Philippines Boxes.

For more information on the work of the PCF with schools see their web site and in particular Jane's video.