Dayhagan Elementary School also rises, while the Carles Central School Library opens

Disaster-weary teachers and parents felt like they have been dealt a double blow when they saw what supertyphoon Yolanda left of the Dayhagan Elementary School in Carles, Iloilo.

After the Department of Education issued an order for classes to resume two weeks after Yolanda had made landfall on November 8, 2013, they eagerly set out not only to help clean the school but reconnect with other members of the community.

What greeted them simply reconfirmed what they feared—that the school environment was now unfit for learning.

Most of the galvanized iron sheet roofing had been blown off, and the few that were loosely attached to the frame were either crumpled or tattered with huge holes, that with just a little rain, water will be all over the floor.  Even the concrete walls had either collapsed or been swept away, leaving the place in shambles.

But then, the children had to go back to school. And teachers had to make do with decrepit facilities, if only to put a semblance of normalcy back to the lives of their pupils and the community they lived in.

“During rainy days, we would all flock to one side of so we don’t get wet. Some classrooms had no walls at all! But we continued to have classes,” Lida Celoso, the school principal, said.

The Department of Education was later on able to build back one school-building. But four children had to take turns in using single desk so they can do schoolwork.

Two years after, on November 6, 2015, the Dayhagan educators and parents witnessed how the Carles Central School, Cawayan Elementary School, and Cano-an Elementary School in northern Iloilo each got two-story, disaster-resilient structures from Ayala Foundation and Ayala Land under the Ayala group’s Bulig Bisaya program. So they wasted no time in requesting the foundation to take a look at Dayhagan as well.

Fortunately, through Bulig Bisaya, the umbrella program of the Ayala group of companies in the rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas, groundbreaking was done for Dayhagan Elementary School’s two school buildings and school stage on February 2016.

Five months later, on July 20, 2016, Ayala Foundation, with the assistance of private funders, turned over the following to a happy community one  3-classroom school building, one 2-classroom school building, and a stage where the young ones can showcase their talents.

“Ayala gave us a gift that many schools also wanted to have. That Dayhagan got these blessings makes us teachers and parents, together with our students, very thankful,” Mrs. Lido said.

Since 2014, Ayala Foundation has facilitated the construction of 38 classrooms in Yolanda affected communities.

Also part of Ayala Foundation’s post-Yolanda commitment is the inauguration of a new school library in Carles Central School. The library, constructed under the Filipinas Heritage Library’s OurLibrary program, is the latest post-Yolanda intervention in the school, which started with the construction of a two-story, eight-classroom school building in 2015, and was followed by a feeding program and teacher training and mentoring, under the foundation’s Training Institute program.

OurLibrary is committed to the development of community and public school libraries across the country. Through this program, the foundation aims to give children (even adults) access to high-quality books and multimedia resources, and to promote a love of reading.

To date, the Ayala group has invested close to half a billion pesos in the relief, recovery, and rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected communities in the Visayas.

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