CLARK Development Corporation (CDC) recently partnered with Operation Brotherhood (OB) Montessori to provide an early childhood learning program that will help Indigenous Peoples’ (IPs) children in the nearby areas of Clark Freeport in their preparation for further education.
In a ceremony, CDC president and CEO Noel Manankil with OB Montessori Child and Community Foundation Inc. executive vice president Sara Francesca Soliven-De Guzman, OB Montessori Child and Community Foundation Inc. officer in charge Beverly Joy Ciencia, Mabalacat City Mayor Crisostomo Garbo, Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Jose Antonio Feliciano, Department of Education officer-in-charge, Office of the Superintendent Leilani Cunanan and CDC External Affairs Department assistant vice president Rommel Narciso signed the memorandum of agreement for the provision of the Aeta Pagsasarili Project which is an early childhood learning program for the young IPs in the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) 025A Area.
During the event, CDC chairman Jose “Ping” De Jesus highlighted the importance of the said program.
“This program is part of our CSR program and our aim here is to develop that area (CADT 025A) physically and economically. But most of all, we want to develop its human capital and to cultivate a sustainable community for Aetas,” he said.
The program will initially cover 50 IPs children from age three to five who will have two class sessions. They will be taught useful information on hygiene and other skills that will equip them for formal schooling. Along with these, CDC will also conduct a feeding program during the course of the said project.
De Jesus also mentioned that this project will also involve parents and other adults in the community who are willing to learn new skills as they guide their children.
“What is also very important here is that we will also have a program for their mothers and some of the adults in the area who are also interested in learning and enhancing their skills.”
He also mentioned that the Pagsasarili program will help lessen the numbers of children who are not able to finish grade school and high school.
“I remember from the statistics that I saw from a year and a half ago, only few are able to graduate from grade school and fewer reaches high school. That is because when they go to school at age six or seven, they did not have a proper preparation for grade school in a formal school system. And this is what we are trying to do, we want to bridge that gap. So that we don’t only develop them during childhood but we can also help them in their adulthood,” De Jesus said.
Meanwhile, OB Montessori founder Dr. Preciosa Soliven expressed enthusiasm in the realization of the project.
“I am excited about the project. It seems that we are always brought to the situation in reaching out to the underprivileged at maganda po ang aming project at tatlumpung taon na ito na aming itinatag (our project which we established for 30 years is really good). Ang pagsasarili system po ay inspired by the Montessori System. We are going to commission three years old to five years old children in a prepared environment where there is practical learning on hygiene and sensorial materials for academic learning,” Soliven said.