The country’s educational system will be facing a difficult challenge when classes resumes in October in a manner that has never been tried before — without classroom-based face to face learning. Since the pandemic, the education department had to push back the regular school calendar not only as a health safety measure but also to prepare for ways to reopen classes utilizing variations of distance learning methods.

The inherent weaknesses of our education system has been exposed in the process, as it is evident that there is little capacity on the part of majority of students to cope with remote learning given its basic requirements in terms of resources that are needed. A preparatory study conducted by the division office of DepEd in Palawan itself showed that the vast majority of learners in Palawan does not even have access to the internet. Nearly half of all schools in the province are not even connected to the power grid.

It is in this context that Palawan News has partnered with local civic groups led by the Palawan Savers’ Club (PSC) to help deserving students who do not have the means, by equipping them with tools and gadgets that they could not otherwise afford.

On September 12, the PSC-led campaign Project Abot Kamay distributed the first batch of brand new laptops to three students from ordinary families who simply have no means to buy them for their children. The gadget is an essential tool needed by learners under this “new normal” educational system to perform tasks and assignments while at home.

Project Abot Kamay continues to receive contributions to be able to reach out to more children until the campaign wraps up on September 30. A unique crowd-funding drive never been done elsewhere, the PSC matches all donations with an additional 50 percent on top of the donation, a scheme to quickly raise funds in time for the October 5 opening of classes.

The donations are publicly accounted on a weekly basis and published in the campaign’s website, an exemplary practice in public transparency. The names of donors and the amount of their contributions are thus reported along with how the money were spent.

As of its latest reporting, the campaign has pooled over P700,000 in cash donations and in-kind contributions including digital tablets that will also be distributed to learners.

The donation drive is proceeding in earnest and Project Abot Kamay is trying to reach out to more donors with whatever they are capable of contributing. Many donations are in trickles of little amounts yet they matter a lot and speaks volumes about the core principle of the campaign, which is really all about compassion and helping others help themselves.

More information about Project Abot Kamay can be found in this link: