Based on latest city government data, as many as 74,000 young people from Tondo, Manila, are considered out of school. The 15-to-24 age group represents a significant portion of the nation’s human resource, and therefore crucial to the country’s growth and development.
Recognizing this, Ayala Foundation, the Rotary Club of Manila, and the City Government of Manila are coming together to implement the Sari-Saring Aralan education project, which covers six barangays in Tondo, Manila.
Sari-Saring Aralan is a six-month community project that encourages the youth to pursue one of three pathways—education, employment, or entrepreneurship. It uses the sari-sari store as the hub of learning activities. Unlike the usual image of the sari-sari store is the place where aimless “tambays” hang out, Sari-Saring Aralan transforms the sari-sari store as a venue where out-of-school youths can interact with teachers, mentors, and fellow learners.
Launched on November 14 in Barangay 50, in Tondo, Manila, Sari-Saring Aralan had an inaugural batch of 20 participants. Each participant will be trained in the following areas—life skills, values formation, and technology.
“It is a privilege for us at Ayala Foundation an opportunity for out-of-school youth to grow and develop as individuals, as members of their respective communities, and as citizens of the nation,” says Ruel Maranan, president of Ayala Foundation. “We thank our partners from RCM, the City Government of Manila, the barangay council members, and other concerned groups for sharing our vision of empowering youth. And we are grateful that we are harnessing the power of partnerships for this project, because serving communities is always better when we work together.”
“Sari-Saring Aralan presents a novel approach to education by fusing iconic Philippine culture with a reinvented perspective towards learning,” says Jesus Pineda, centennial president of RCM. “Built on the sari-sari store concept as a repository of convenience, institutions of community excellence built on years of selfless service, the Rotary Club of Manila, the First in Asia, and the Ayala Foundation, through the relentless efforts of Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the participation of Grameen Australia Philippines, perceived education as a matter of human convenience that should be made available at every instance. Hence, this historic partnership of like-minded entities, both private and public, whose respective reputations are firmly anchored on years of community building, creates the perfect backdrop for tomorrow’s literacy honed in ingenuity of which we should all be part of.”
Jenny Regala, a resident of Barangay 52 and part of the imaugural batch of Sari-Saring Aralan participants, expresses her renewed hope as a result of her inclusion in the program: “Pag nakatapos ako ulit at nakahanap ng magandang trabaho, magkakaroon na ako ng ipon para tuparin ang pangarap naman ng mga anak ko na makapag-aral.”