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CARE, partner NISA deliver learning materials to a conflict-affected elementary school in Basilan

Lorna, 51, carefully checks the foldable tables, chairs, writing, and printing supplies, visual materials, a sound system, printer, and a laptop delivered to Ulitan Elementary School, where she is the teacher-in-charge. Some of their pupils and their parents and guardians were in attendance and witnessed the turnover of these supplies, materials, and equipment needed to improve education delivery in their school.

“We are overwhelmed with the support. These will greatly assist us in our teaching and will surely motivate our pupils to continue learning despite what happened”, she shared.

The Ulitan Elementary School in Brgy Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan in the Basilan province, suffered a devastating loss when combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine military clashed in November last year forced the evacuation of more than 500 households in the community. After the fighting subsided, and it was deemed safe to return to the community, Lorna and her fellow teachers returned to find that multiple gunshots had damaged the school buildings. Desks, chairs, and tables were also turned over and ruined. Gunshots forcefully opened some doors.

Lorna remembered how she stood in her room, scanned the damages, and felt lost on what to do. One hundred fifty-eight (158 enrollees) relied on them to resume their education. Without the necessary supplies and materials, they had to ask for the support of the local government unit, organizations, and private individuals to provide them with desks, tables, and chairs to resume their classes after the school was deemed safe for the pupils to return to.

CARE, NISA staff hand over the learning supplies, materials and equipment to the school administration witnessed by pupils and their parents/guardians in the Ulitan Elementary School.

CARE and NISA Ul Haqq fi Bangsamoro, Inc. consulted with the school administration and the teachers and included their specific needs in the Basilan Emergency Response. On March 4, some of the educational supplies, materials, and equipment they requested were turned over to their school.

Janira, a 71-year-old grandmother, was one among the people who attended the event. She has 3 grandchildren who are learning in the said school. She shared that they were disheartened that they were not able to continue schooling when they fled and stayed at the evacuation center for more than 20 days before they were able to return home.

“I’m glad that they will now have enough chairs and tables so that they can properly write their lessons”, she said. The pupils used to huddle and share the few desks they had in the school.

Pupils raise their hand when asked who were glad that their school have necessary learning materials and equipment to use in their education.

The Basilan Emergency Response is supported by the Tijori Foundation and is being implemented by CARE Philippines and its partner, NISA Ul Haqq fi Bangsamoro, Inc., in collaboration with the BARMM Ministry of Social Services and Development and Development, GPH-MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG).

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