A group of friends headed by 20-year-old University of the Philippines Diliman student Micaela Gavino has started a fund drive to help public school students in their community get connected for their online classes. Gavino and four of her friends from high school launched ‘Salindiwa: Donation Drive’ in July with the goal of generating at least P100,000 to buy pocket WiFi gadgets that will be donated to deserving students (from Grades 4 to 6) of Kapitan Moy Elementary School in Marikina City.
The group unanimously chose the elementary school as the recipient of their fund drive because they taught Math, Science, English, and Values Education there when they were completing an outreach program back in high school.
“We deemed it was important to check on our own community and see how public school students were faring with the new demands in education,” Gavino said.
So far, the fund drive has been able to raise more than P95,000—a little short of the target. However, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) stepped in to partner with them—and provided a huge discount in the purchase of the pocket WiFi devices.
With this support, Gavino’s group was able to turn over Smart Bro LTE Pocket WiFi units to 102 students from the elementary school, just in time for the scheduled opening of classes in October.
Keeping students connected
“Smart is always looking for ways to work with the community in this time of crisis,” said Smart Go-to-Market & Subscriber Management Department Head/VP Melvin Nubla. “With schools migrating to blended learning, we support efforts to help fellow students gain access to educational materials online. We believe that even in the time of the pandemic, no learner should be left behind.”
The fund drive will not end there, though. The group is now aiming to generate funds to provide monthly allowance to their beneficiaries to cover the data requirements for the rest of the school year. They are looking at regularly loading each of the pocket WiFi devices with Smart’s GIGA Study Pro 199 e-package, which comes with 6GB of open access data for 7 days plus 3GB allocation for daily essentials like access to Google Classroom, Meet, Google Search, YouTube, MS Teams, and Microsoft 365.