A group of local entrepreneurs in Palawan formally kicked off a crowdfunding campaign Saturday, in a bid to rally support to public school students in the coming school opening in October.

The Palawenyo Savers Club (PSC), through its Project Abot-Kamay Share & Care, said they aim to distribute gadgets including laptops, tablets, and protective equipment such as face shields, face masks and alcohol for K-12 students in Palawan public schools.

Since its soft launch on August 26, the group’s website for the campaign reported a total of P294,410.28 in donations, plus 50 sets of tablets already received from donors.

May Alldritt, the project’s coordinator, explained that all the funds they have been raising from donations are being matched with a 50% counterpart fund from their group, the Palawan Savers’ Club.

The group, which had also organized relief efforts in Palawan during the height of the total lockdown in the province, said they are aiming to draw more support from interested donors in Palawan until September 30.

“The Palawenyo Savers Club has always been helping the community pero ang lahat ng projects namin before ay internal ang source ng funds. Ngayon, meron kaming pantulong pero ang laki-laki kasi ng pangangailangan so naisip namin, this is the time for the community to help whatever they can in their community,” Aldritt said.

Donations to the campaign could be done via bank deposit, mobile e-wallets, donation boxes in partner establishments, cash drop; or through in-kind donations of laptops or tablets.

Alldritt said that while students will be facing difficult challenges in distance learning, they felt that they can help by addressing the lack of gadgets that are critically important in the various modes of distance learning being implemented by the Department of Education.

“Siguro hindi na rin naman kaila sa ating lahat na ngayong 2020-2021, kailangan ng mga kabataan natin ng mga gadgets tulad ng laptop, tablets. Hindi kaila na meron na rin mga studies na ginawa kung gaano kalaki ang kakulangan pagdating sa gadgets para tugunan ang kanilang pangangailangan,” she said.

“This time, in-involve namin ang community kasi malaki ang pangangailangan, may mga tao na nakapaghanda na sa pangangailangan ng kanilang mga anak nila na gusto rin makatulong pa sa mga bata,” she added.

To manage the funds that are collected, the group said that 75 percent of collected donation and the PSC donation match will be allocated in purchasing laptops while the remaining 25 percent will be set aside to for face masks, face shields and alcohol.

The PSC plans to start distributing the donations on the third week of September for the first batch, to be followed on the first week of October for the second batch.

Accounting of funds

Funds raised by Project Abot-Kamay Share & Care are publicly accounted and published on the group’s campaign website, updated weekly. Included in the weekly reporting are the names of donors and the amount of their contribution.

Aldritt said this practice is in line with the PSC’s advocacy for transparency through public accounting.

Applying as beneficiary/donor

To qualify as a recipient or beneficiary of the project, Aldritt explained that students from public schools should submit a letter of interest online through their website.

Interested beneficiaries and donors may visit  https://projectabotkamay.wordpress.com/ ; Piso-Piso, Aasenso Facebook Page; or send them an email on pisopisoaasenso@gmail.com for inquiries and other details.

The PSC can also be reached through cellular numbers 0908-211-3258 or 0945-846-1045

The recipients of brand new laptops and tablets will be selected through the four-stage selection process of shortlisting beneficiaries.

Also as part of the project, teachers in selected public schools throughout Palawan will receive face masks, face shields and alcohol. Schools shall be chosen through recommendations of donors and in coordination with the city and provincial Department of Education (DepEd).

Aldritt added that the PSC will maximize the resources and one of the considerations they will look into is the access to electricity of the student so the gadget will be used.

“Ima-maximize natin ang resources kahit na isang laptop lang sa isang pamilya na may tatlong estudyante, malaking bagay na ‘yon,” she said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.