ORMOC CITY -- Officials of two Malaysian organizations led the turnover on May 13 of seven newly rebuilt classrooms that were destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Raja Riza Shazmin Raja, honorary secretary of Mercy Malaysia, and Maybank Foundation chief executive officer Shahril Azuar Jimin did the honors of unveiling the plaque inaugurating the facilities at Nasunogan Elementary School.
Located 10 kilometers north from the city center, Nasunogan has a population of 1,643 consisting of 400 families.
Its elementary school is the only learning institution that serves the area. Majority of the 246 students (from kindergarten to grade 6) come from low income families who depend on rice-farming as their main source of livelihood.
On November 8, 2013 when Typhoon Yolanda slammed Eastern Visayas, 93 out of 97 schools in Ormoc were either destroyed or heavily damaged.
In Nasunogan Elementary School, three buildings with five classrooms were destroyed while two other buildings with two classrooms lost their roofs. The school also lost most of its instructional materials such as books, files and test papers.
Its remote location put the village at a disadvantage in competing with other villages in securing limited assistance. The school was unable to recover on its own as it lacked financial resources. That time, the local government unit was referring non-government organizations to villages and this is where the partnership between Mercy Malaysia and Nasunogan began.
Ten days after the typhoon, Mercy Malaysia gave 210 galvanized iron (GI) sheets and 500 boxes of nails to households of Zone 7 and also beautified its surroundings. It also donated a generator set for the pumping station to bring back running water to the faucets.
The school got its share of the GI sheets but these remained unused.
Asked by a representative of Mercy Malaysia about this, school principal Jovita Donor replied they didn’t have money to buy lumber for the beam and frames of the roof. The organization bought the lumber and decided to rebuild the destroyed schoolhouses as well.
The rehabilitation project began on April 9, 2014. On December 2013, Maybank Foundation partnered with Mercy Malaysia and gave P4 million for Ormoc, half of which went to the rehabilitation of Nasunogan Elementary School including the construction of a new canteen and stage.
Now, the school has four buildings with seven classrooms, office, canteen, stage, two toilet facilities and a vegetable seedling nursery.
Each classroom has a chalkboard, notice board, electric fans and lighting fixtures. The new school buildings are designed to withstand natural calamities.
“By constructing the school to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, it will also function as an evacuation center during a disaster with the capacity to accommodate the people of the village,” Mercy Malaysia President Dato’ Dr. Ahmad faizal Moh Perdaus said.
Maybank Foundation also turned over three sets of desktop computers for the students’ use. (PNA)