During December we focused on ensuring every member of our staff had the materials needed to rebuild their homes. All materials are now bought and delivered and more than 50 homes are fully or on their way to being rebuilt 🙂 So January means full steam ahead at the Elementary School on Malapascua. Funded of course by your donations!
The school badly needs classrooms. Until the Christmas break, the children were only able to attend for half a day each, as there were simply not enough classrooms for everyone. But new ones take time (and money) to build, so we needed a temporary solution as fast as possible.
In addition, we are bringing in a lot of building materials that need to be secured and so a storeroom is vital. One of the good classrooms was being used for this. We felt this was a waste of a good room! So we took some of the old lumber and other materials salvaged from the typhoon and have instead adapted one of the more unstable classrooms that we did not want to use for children. So that easily freed up a first new classroom!
Another block had six classrooms in it. One room was okay, but the other five were missing roofs. As well as the basic roofing, the sodden or missing ceilings also needed replacing….
…and the outside overhangs also need repairs.
Our team got straight to work after Christmas! Three classrooms are already finished and the other two should be finished by the end of the week 🙂
Our original plan was to build a temporary structure to house some additional classrooms, but instead, we are planning to repair another damaged building. This will create three more permanent classrooms and will take about the same time as the previously proposed interim structures. We had at first thought this building would have to be rebuilt, but with some repairs it will be okay.
Globe Telecom has also promised to donate some tents that we can use as temporary classrooms and these are expected to arrive in two weeks.
So once these are all in place we should have enough classrooms to house all the students, at least for now!
We are still working on a long-term plan and are in careful phase and budget planning mode right now; this project has many variables and we aim to continue to use your donations in the best way possible. At the moment, the preferred plan is to build a completely new permanent concrete structure with three classrooms. Each will have a concrete roof and will double up as a typhoon shelter.
We are also looking into using eco-friendly techniques that are new and educational for the construction teams here in Malapascua. In order to make a cement ceiling lighter yet remain robust many buildings use special Styrofoam as a “filler”. We are researching the feasibility of using the same concept for an initiative where we pay the local community a small fee to collect plastic waste for our cement ceiling. If possible, this would serve many purposes: to save donated funds for other things; to remove dependency on non-sustainable Styrofoam; to reduce community waste; to provide a wage and bring money into the community; and to educate locals on how to reuse plastics effectively and save money in their own constructions.
In addition we plan to eventually create a garden roof on top of the flat cement building to both beautify and cool the building and to provide an allotment space that can be used as a reward for good pupils or for gardening lessons. We hope to incorporate creative resourcing techniques into our various project implementations to optimise value for your donations as we go.
As of now though, the main issue is the budget, as we do not currently have enough to fund this ourselves given we are also rebuilding more homes. So currently we would need to build this classroom by classroom to ensure we don’t run out of funds before we finish the 3 rooms. But we are working on that and any and all donations are still very much welcome!
Thanks again to everyone for providing the money so we can even be thinking about this. We are all very excited about this project and about bringing it to fruition!