“Education should not be hindered by poverty. It is the most valuable inheritance that we can give to our children because it is a treasure that can never be taken away from them by anyone.”
These are the words of Mrs. Elena, the light of the Monto household—a family recognized by the Bayaning Pamilyang Pilipino Awards for their effort in giving underprivileged children in Cavite the opportunity to study. When asked to talk about his passion for education, Marvin, the youngest of three, recalls how he was inspired to be an advocate in 2009 when he was given a box full of school supplies at the time he needed it the most. This life-changing experience led Marvin and his family to pay it forward by reaching out to others the way they had once been helped.
Their story mirrors the desire of every Filipino family to overcome poverty by gaining access to education. However, providing free schooling is only the beginning. According to studies, most grade school Filipino students drop out mainly because of their inability to pay for additional expenses such as allowance, transportation, uniforms, and school supplies.
Recognizing this tremendous need, integrated marketing communications firm TeamAsia and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) teamed up nine years ago to organize My Dream in a Shoebox—an initiative to bring the nation together to help equip the youth with the necessary learning tools. In fact, it is through this effort that Marvin was given hope a few years ago.
Since their first campaign, My Dream in a Shoebox has provided over 180,000 shoeboxes with school supplies to children from over 80 communities throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. They have also developed some beneficiary communities by granting computers and cash donations for the improvement of educational facilities, including the Payatas Orione Foundation, Inc. learning center in Lucena.
Although headquartered in Metro Manila, My Dream in a Shoebox has become a nationwide movement of organizations and individuals who are passionate about equipping the next generation for a brighter future.Through the joint commitment of partner organizations and volunteers, the impact of My Dream in a Shoebox has grown exponentially through the years.
For its ninth year, My Dream in a Shoebox is dreaming bigger, aiming not only to equip 75,000 kids with school supplies but also to furnish more communities with facilities that are conducive for learning. With this goal in mind, TeamAsia and IBPAP are calling for partners who would help realize this vision.
My Dream in a Shoebox is off to a great start, having collected 7,236 shoebox pledges as of this month. It has also inked partnerships with organizations that want to help fulfill children’s dreams in unique ways. National Bookstore has signed its partnership with My Dream in a Shoebox for the third year, agreeing to sell packs of school supplies to donees for a discounted price. Moreover, My Dream in a Shoebox is collaborating with the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation for the first time to deliver school supplies to more remote communities in the country.
The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation is a movement that promotes the safe transportation of children who have to swim to school. It started with the provision of yellow school boats to impoverished coastal communities and extended to the establishment of classrooms, dormitories, and bridges. Its holistic approach to youth empowerment has also led to the provision of school supplies, food, livelihood, and scholarships. The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation and My Dream in a Shoebox are one in their mission of enabling underprivileged kids to pursue a brighter future.