After one year from the strike of the Nona Typhoon that damaged some 60 schools in the Eastern Mindoro province, targeting in particular the cities of Pinamalyan, Soccorro, Gloria and Pola, finally we have today the first materials for the beginning of the working site for the reconstruction of three classes in Banilad Elementary School, financed by Kito Onlus.

The School, lacking government funding for its renovation, can now rely on Kito Onlus for the support needed in order to be rebuild, also thanking Architects without Borders Veneto (ASFV) for Technical support and a renewed attention by local administrations, brought together by Kito Onlus cooperation with local Stakeholders.

In fact, the project has been agreed upon with the Pinamalayan municipality, the Department of Education of Eastern Mindoro and with its vice-governor that together will provide help in organizing the specialized work force.

The local community has been involved as well through participatory processes. In particular, the association of Parents and Teachers of the Banilad School and the Captain of the Barangay had the possibility to discuss with us the proposal for the reconstruction. We shared and presented the project as to facilitate its internalization, in the hope that this will guarantee the presence of an adequate number of volunteer workers throughout the works.

The damaged building was built in the seventies and presented materials and structures clearly not suitable to resist to natural disasters and especially to the strength of last year’s Typhoon, resulting in the roof and many vertical elements of the school to be wiped off by the storm; only few walls remained.

After several inspections, conducted by the staff of Kito and ASFV together with the Department of Education of Eastern Mindoro, the decision to proceed with the demolition of what remained of the structure was finally taken. We decided to opt for the complete reconstruction of the three classes that will abide to the technical and dimensional standards of the department.

The project is meant to have a long-lasting impact on local population and has been drafted with the aid of ASFV, based on the standard one provided by the Philippines Public Works Department. It entails the realization of a building resistant to Typhoons and Earthquakes and that will provide an emergency shelter in case of necessity.

On Thursday 24th of November, works officially started and after a good three weeks the demolitions of the rubbles have been completed, some re-usable materials have been disposed of and excavations for the foundations of the new structure are made.

Before the beginning of the demolitions, we provided volunteer workers with general considerations concerning safety in the working site and in particular some basic dispositions to follow during the proceeding of the works. Meanwhile, we selected five specialized workers belonging to the local community in order to lead the volunteers and follow the overall plan of the project.

All of the population in Banilad has been involved by the Barangay’s captain to help with the demolitions in the context of bayaninhan: volunteer cooperative work; this helped a lot speeding up the process of demolition and to create a self-determination and cooperation spirit of the community around the re-construction of the school.

The projects proceeds not without some hardships, but thanks to an intense engagement in empowering local actors and thanks to participatory approaches, the whole community is now protagonist, together with Kito and ASFV, of the realization of a place suitable for the education of young students of Banilad!



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