WS promotes basic education through CARD MRI’s Zero Dropout Program

Part 2 of 2

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In a previous issue, we learned how SGV Founder Mr. Washington SyCip has funded and remained actively involved in the Zero Dropout Education Scheme (ZeDrEs) implemented by the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development – Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI). Introduced in June 2011, the program follows the existing educational loan policy of CARD MRI and is currently offered exclusively to members whose children are in elementary school. As of December 2012, the program has already assisted 10,967 poor rural children.

Market Group 5 and Financial Services Risk Management partner Ian Lauron headed the SGV ZeDrEs team which was engaged to conduct a special audit of the Kazarian-SyCip Fund, a Donor Advice Fund of CARD, Inc. To assess whether the scheme is being implemented properly, the team interviewed program beneficiaries, educational loan borrowers and CARD loan officers in Cebu, Davao, Leyte, Lucena and Makati last March. For many of the team members, conducting the interviews gave them a sense of fulfillment. Senior associate Belvin Armenion shares, “It is so fulfilling to have been involved in ensuring that the program’s aim is met. This will ultimately change the lives of the beneficiaries. Imagine personally visiting and talking to happy program beneficiaries in the remote areas and giving a report to the CARD MRI founders and to Mr. Wash SyCip! I was thrilled and very happy.”

Basic education has always been one of Mr. SyCip’s advocacies and he urges organizations to include it in their various corporate social responsibility initiatives. “Help poor nations on basic education as this is the best way to reduce poverty. The rest will follow naturally,” he believes. “As a nation, we seem to accept the scandalously high national dropout rates of students in basic education. In many towns and villages, Synergeia – led by Nene Guevara, and working with mayors and community leaders who want change – has improved literacy rates. But much, much greater national efforts are needed.”

Taking this advocacy to heart, SGV has also funded and been involved in a number of basic education initiatives in addition to Mr. SyCip’s personal projects and the ZeDrEs program:

Three kindergarten classrooms were donated to Pinagbuhatan Elementary School in Pasig City, which the school named Kinder SyCip, Kinder Gorres and Kinder Velayo.

In celebration of SGV’s 65th anniversary and Mr. SyCip’s 90th birthday, a donation was made through the Synergeia Foundation to build 90 playgrounds in elementary schools around the country.

The SGV Foundation’s first ever charity race, 1st Step – the SGV Run for Learning, raised funds to help the Aklat, Gabay, Aruga tungo sa Pag-anat at Pag-asa (AGAPP) Foundation in building quality learning facilities for public preschool children at the San Francisco Elementary School in Bulan, Sorsogon.

A portion of the partners’ 2012 Christmas party fund was donated to the Rosauro Almario Elementary School in Tondo, Manila to renovate a classroom as a gift from the partners and alumni of SGV.

EY was the transaction advisor for the Public-Private Partnership for School Infrastructure Project.

As SGVeans, we too can help promote basic education in our own ways. “Inspire and motivate. As thought leaders, we could spread and emphasize that education is the key to a better future,” Belvin remarks. “SGVeans can also make a donation to the ZeDrEs program or we can directly help the poorest of the poor obtain basic education (and even college and graduate courses) through personally-sponsored scholarships.”