Ten-year old Noryasmin Mauna walked on stage with a smile on her glowing face. Lights surrounded her and the host asked, “Anong gusto mong maging paglaki mo?” (What do you want to be when you grow up?) Mauna’s smile got a little bigger and her eyes shone a little brighter. She said, “Gusto ko pong maging sundalo.” (I want to be a soldier.)
Mauna is one of the 34 kids who travelled all the way from Marawi City to Kidzania Manila in Bonifacio Global, Taguig for a one-of-a-kind fun learning experience. PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) together with MVP Tulong Kapatid, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) consortium of the companies led by business leader Manuel V. Pangilinan, participated in the Philippine Army’s TABAK Educational tour project by giving a memorable CSR Activity Day to these kids.
“Gusto ko po maging sundalo para makatulong sa bayan,” Mauna said. At age 10, Mauna already has a clear sense of self – one that she must have anchored on the tragic experience back in her hometown. But it never stopped her from aspiring to become better and to overcome the situation which she, along with thousands of displaced families in Marawi, currently faces. Instead, Mauna wants to pay it forward, learning that the best thing she can do is to help the country she calls home.
Filled with energetic spirits, the kids, along with their facilitators, went to Kidzania and immersed themselves in a reimagined world where they can be whoever they want to be. In an instant, they were firefighters, racecar drivers, carpenters, makers of yummy chips or some scrumptious cheeseburgers. They sang their hearts out and danced like nobody was watching. These kids became exactly like kids who dared to dream great dreams.
Rising above tragedy
“Our hearts are with the people of Marawi as they rise above the tragedy that has surrounded their beautiful city. As they move forward, we continue to support them the best we could and with everything we can,” PSF President Esther Santos said.
The CSR Activity Day with the Marawi kids also included an interactive storytelling session with Smart and reading advocate Rey Bufi, fun games and exciting prizes.
MVP Tulong Kapatid made the day more memorable by giving away tons of freebies. PSF provided 50 ecobags for the giveaways putting in baon packs as well as event t-shirts for the children. Inside these bags were more exciting giveaways which include two story books per kid from Smart; toys and hygiene kits from Makati Medical Center Foundation and Alagang Kapatid Foundation; sports equipment such as basketball and football jerseys, solar lamps, schools bags and back-to-school kits from One Meralco Foundation; three bottles of water for each kid, 35 Tubee stuffed toys, and notebooks from Maynilad; and vitamins and hygiene kits which include bath soap, anti-lice shampoo, and towel from Cardinal Santos.
Alagang Kapatid Foundation covered the event as well as coordinated with McDonald’s for the food sponsorship. In coordination with Miriam College, the foundation also encouraged the kids to participate in an art contest. They also provided loot bags, while TV5 gave away some bags for the kids.
A ventriloquist from One Meralco Foundation also performed for the kids. MVP hospitals led by the Makati Medical Center offered free check-up with pediatrician. Providing a delicious meal to end an unforgettable day, PSF together with the Tollways Group sponsored the dinner for the children, facilitators, and the event organizers. It is a day that will forever be remembered by these children of Marawi as a time when a new world is recreated, where hope sprung, and comfort arises.
Other Pangilinan-led companies which participated were Maynilad, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and North Luzon Expressway Corporation.