Two years ago, our nation suffered from the wrath of what was seen as the strongest typhoon to hit the planet.  Yolanda, with international name Haiyan, directly hit Tacloban on its path, and leaving the province to ground zero.  Local and international civic organizations poured in to help in rehabilitating the city.  Up to this date a lot these organizations are still supporting survivors. Some groups dedicated their assistance in rebuilding schools, which is the sanctuary of education for the children who survived the havoc of Yolanda. Thus, the rise of the Philam Foundation’s Philam Paaralan Program.

Philam Paaralan Program

Philam Foundation partnered with The Happy Hearts Fund  and The Travel Corporation to carry out this mission in rebuilding schools.  The program, Philam Paaralan, will fix schools within the district of Alangalang  in the typhoon-hit Tacloban.   The Happy Hearts Fund, a non-profit organization founded by philanthropist and international supermodel Petra Nemcova. Their dedication is to rebuild schools after natural disasters.

With this joint venture, The Travel Corporation (TTC) generously contributed US$40,000 towards the rebuilding of the Alangalang school.  The Philam Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Philam Group of Companies (PGC), launched Philam Paaralan with the Department of Education. The program aims to rebuild schools affected by natural disasters, and to make them more resilient against future disasters.

Robin Yap, the President of The Travel Corporation (Asia) and representing TTC’s brands Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki and Uniworld; said “We are very pleased to have been able to help Petra and the Happy Hearts Fund in completing the important restoration of the Alangalang School.  In attending this opening and in commemorating this important event, and in doing so reiterating our company’s commitment to giving back to local communities around the world, especially in a much loved country such as the Philippines” Brett Tollman, Chief Executive of TTC also said, “We are honoured to assist Petra, her team and their remarkable mission to rebuild schools wherever possible. God bless them all and may the children enjoy learning and sharing at this important educational institution in the many years to come.”

philam paaralan

From left to right: Max G. Ventura, President of the Philam Foundation; Petra Nemcova, founder of the Happy Hearts Fund; Robin Yap, President of The Travel Corporation (Asia); Gerry B. Raynes, Principal/Director of Alangalang Elementary School; and Loreto T. Yu, Municipal Mayor of Alangalang, Leyte.

“We work tirelessly to bring brighter futures to children affected by natural disasters, and this school opening positively demonstrates that, with strong collaborations, we can provide safe, resilient schools, restore a sense of normalcy to those affected by natural disasters, and create sustained response after first responders leave,” Nemcova said. “Attending a school opening is such a meaningful and unforgettable experience for everyone, from the students to parents to teachers, the whole community and of course, all of the partners involved. The ripple effect that this school provides is what keeps us pushing forward in our mission to rebuild, safe resilient schools for children who are forgotten for years after natural disasters because of a lack of sustained response. We are so excited for the Alangalang school opening as it marks a new beginning and better future for children, their families and the whole community,” she added.

Max Ventura, President of the Philam Foundation, expressed his deepest gratitude to the groups and individuals who helped make the rebuilding of the school possible. “We are very grateful to Petra and her team from Happy Hearts as well as to their corporate partners like The Travel Corporation for their generosity and trust in our Philam Paaralan Program,” he said. “We honour them by building these disaster-resilient and conducive learning spaces that will benefit hundreds of school children for years to come. Together with our partners, we are able to build back better and offer hope to communities gravely affected by calamities. The schools that we build do serve as beacons of hope for many,” he concluded.

To know more about Happy Hearts Fund and The Philam Foundation, please visit http://happyheartsfund.org/ and http://www.philamlife.com/en/about-us/about-philamlife/our-affiliates/philam-foundation/philam_foundation.html