Students from Hamticon Elementary School try out the gadgets from Smart’s School in a Bag.
It took two long hours, several hilly trails, and some rivers to get to Hamticon Elementary School in Sagay City, Negros Occidental. It truly was an experience like no other – one that thrives in difficulties and comes out with a stronger spirit and the purest smile. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF), Smart Communications Inc, and the PLDT Bacolod employee volunteers headed by Negros Customer Service Operations Zone (CSOZ) Head Rene Santillan turned over the PLDT Sack of Joy and Smart School-in-a-Bag to the students and teachers of Hamticon Elementary School.
“There is no distance too far that would dampen our spirits as we see the smiles in the faces of the students and teachers of Hamticon Elementary School in Sagay City, Negros Occidental. It is truly a humbling experience to see the joy we have brought them through the simple things we have given as one PLDT and Smart community,” said PSF President Esther O. Santos.
PLDT Bacolod employee volunteers led by PLDT Negros CSOZ Head Rene Santillan help distribute the Sacks of Joy to the students.
“Truly, some of the difficulties we have faced as we reached Hamticon Elementary School seem to have been forgotten the minute we saw the genuine smiles that welcomed us in Sagay City. It may be our first time to participate in PSF’s incredible efforts, but it is surely an unforgettable and remarkable experience,” Santillan said.
Last August 29, PSF, with the support of the PLDT Bacolod employee volunteers, also distributed 100 PLDT Sack of Joy in Emiliana J. Garcia Elementary School in Alijis Road, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. The school was nominated by PLDT Bacolod to be one of the PLDT Sack of Joy beneficiaries.
Initially launched by PLDT Human Resources back in 2013, the Sack of Joy Program encourages PLDT employees to send in their donations to produce bags of gifts to Elementary Public school students nationwide. The Sack of Joy includes school supplies such as PLDT-Smart Foundation Composition notebook, pencil, ballpen, a Crayola set, ruler, pencil sharpener, paste, and eraser.
Students from Hamticon Elementary School smile with their PLDT Sack of Joy.
On the other hand, the Smart School-in-a-Bag is a portable digital classroom designed to facilitate learning in basic education in remote areas nationwide. The Smart School-in-a-Bag is part of the UBS Investments Philippines donation to PSF.
Tisa Villaceran, who is the teacher-in-charge, says that most of the teachers in Hamticon Elementary School are from proper Sagay. “We are extremely grateful for PLDT and Smart for the help that they have provided for our little community here in Sagay City. Through the PLDT Sack of Joy and Smart School-in-a-Bag, there are greater opportunities for learning that are now made available for our dear students here in Hamticon Elementary School,” Villaceran said.
With a population of around 3,000 individuals, estimating to more than 700 households, the people of Sagay City mostly rely on their livelihood as sugar cane farmers.