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CherrySkwela, a Liberating CSR Initiative

August 12, 2016
More empowering than a mere gift giving, CherrySkwela evolved from corporate philanthropy to a liberating CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative.
 
For the past four (4) years, about 50,000 indigent students nationwide have been catered by the CherrySkwela Program which advocates children’s rights to quality education by providing tailored-fit learning sessions or training workshops, supporting professional training and conventions, scholarship grants, annual camps, building or renovating classrooms, providing learning equipment/materials, and distributing school kits and other related educational needs for the impoverished sector of society.



Just recently, 17 Cherry Mobile scholars from indigent families who graduated from college successfully landed a decent job and are currently helping their families get out of the inter-generational cycle of poverty. A number of these scholars graduated cum laude and are now serving their own communities as school teachers, while others are employed as office staff in various fields. CherrySkwela invested on need-based trainings/seminars and other forms of educational opportunities for these scholars (while they are studying) that helped them develop holistically, excel in their respective disciplines, live their lives to the fullest, and continue the legacy of helping others who are in need. Today, these young professionals are members of the competitive workforce of the country who contribute to the nation’s wealth and no longer recipients of humanitarian assistance.



 





Furthermore, CherrySkwela built and restored classrooms, and provided educational equipment and thousands of learning kits for indigent pupils specifically in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas nationwide. In this year’s school opening, 11,000 kids benefited CherrySkwela’s Be Cool in School project as they received learning kits composed of waterproof back packs, notebooks, pad paper, pencil, pens and freebies. Majority of the beneficiaries were IP (Indigenous 
People)communities from 15 provinces nationwide, specifically Aeta, Abelling, Remontado, Ati, Bantoanon, Bukinon Iraynon, Cuyonon, Dumagat, Ifugao, Mangyan, Te’duray, and Lambangian. To attend school, these IP kids endured long hours of mountain treks, surpassed raging waves of rivers, persisted horseback riding along dangerous cliffs; many of them went to school with an empty stomach, and their parents can hardly afford to buy a school kit for each of their school kid. 
 
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It is very astonishing to note that despite the IP kids’ predicament, they risk their lives daily just to attend school and eventually receive a basic education diploma. Their perseverance is beyond comparison. Their parents had unpleasant experiences from unscrupulous merchants in town who took advantage of their illiteracy to buy their crops and native products at a very low price. These painful experiences told by their parents motivate them to learn basic writing, reading and arithmetic which are necessity for survival.




The hardships caused by the very challenging journey (an average of five (5) hourstraversing high mountains, raging rivers under the rolling thunders with stinging rainfalls or scorching heat of the sun by foot, saddled boat, balsa, habal-habal motorcycle, pony, or hitching trucks, not mentioning other forms of threats from possible armed conflict  encounters between military and rebels) experienced by CSR team and the rest of the volunteers amazingly vanished upon witnessing how grateful the IP kids were to receive the simple educational assistance.  Every item they received is too precious and no amount of money can equate the joy of having the brand new stuff which they barely receive from any humanitarian group or government agency. Excitement flooded the air as the IP children received their school kits, opened each zipper, explored every detail of the bag, tested the color of each ball pen and sniffed the aroma of new notebooks and pad papers which they seldom possessed.

 




Prior to the distribution of school supplies, an interactive learning session focused on IP kids’ rights were discussed by the CSR team and local representatives from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) using their own dialect. Such knowledge is valuable in raising awareness among IP communities to liberate them from possible external threats and defend their ancestral domain. The two-month journey to the IP communities was indeed the most challenging trip for the last four years; it required tremendous physical and mental agility to reach the target destinations just to bring the message of hope and compassion to those who are desperately in need of such particular help. CherrySkwela’s Be Cool in School Project was welcomed by IP groups with festive celebration in each community that the CSR team visited. 





 
To create substantial and lasting social impact, CherrySkwela continually supports about a thousand professional workers such as school teachers, social development workers, community leaders, and youth leaders to attain personal, professional and organizational advancement through tailored-fit training-workshops and sponsorship.
 
Educational facilities require continuous upgrade as technology becomes sophisticated. To keep up with the changing world, school teachers were equipped with new knowledge in utilizing the latest technology for teaching.
 
More and more stakeholders from various sectors extended their support to CherrySkwela’s advocacy. Mostly are from the business sector, namely Lupel Marketing, the exclusive dealer of Uni Ball pens; Cherry Mobile dealers — Cell City, Ormoc Cell Works, Play Telecom, GMore, Graphic, Bestfriend’s Cybernet, and Ilicom Enterprises. Similarly, government agencies supported this initiative namely the NCIP, Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Local Government Units (LGU), Civil Military Operations, and organizations such as Hagiyo and Black Pencil Project.
 
CherrySkwela Program hopes to gather more support from the business sector and serve more indigent kids to liberate them from poverty. 
 
 
Contributors:
Regine Peñaflor Anacay
Radelie Hurtada-Geavican
Relet L. Martobago

 
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