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In the Philippines, from tambo to university ...

“From Tambo to University” is a remarkable educational project with 4 two-fold complementary activities, developing a sense of responsibility both for the young grant holders who support and assist younger pupils encountering learning difficulties, and for the parents who are able to create small long-term jobs. A method for building a peaceful environment amidst hurricanes and typhoons….

Tambo, in the Philippines, is a sub-district of the Macasandig district, in Cagayan de Oro City. It has a population of 2 518 inhabitants in around 500 families.

The neighbourhood is located in a poor area, next to a river which often bursts its banks. It is also the victim of typhoons, the latest of which hit the area in 2011. The neighbourhood was a field of coconut palm trees, where families came to work for the owners, but relatives and acquaintances gradually arrived there to set up home on the land.

Some families have signed tenant farming contracts, but most are neither owners nor tenants, and it could be said that, for the majority of cases, Tambo is a district of “squatters”, which still has certain rural characteristics.

A large percentage of the population earns a very low wage with irregular work. Generally speaking, they do not earn the minimum wage: they are farm workers, drivers of vehicles rented on a day-to-day basis, building labourers, day labourers, …

34% of those applying for a grant do not have running water at home, and 12% do not have electricity or have it illegally. Household waste is collected once a week and most of the families burn their waste or throw it in the nearest canal.

The mother is the breadwinner in several families, while the father waits to be hired for the day.

More than 400 children do not go to school in Tambo due to lack of means, which leads several adults to gamble and drink, along with a general indifference for the culture and education of their children.

Opportunities have been identified so that the project can have an educational influence and thus encourage social change. The Compagnie de Marie has opened a reception desk in its Niña Maria Centre.
Tambo is a district in which the people have a strong inborn sense of community.

Women are more active than men, and are involved in organisations, most of which have religious foundations, encouraging proximity and solidarity between inhabitants.

21 children (12 girls and 9 boys) receive direct grants in primary school, 40 in secondary school (25 girls and 15 boys), and 12 young students in university (8 girls and 4 boys).

This project requires a commitment from the parents or beneficiaries of the grants. The university students act as tutors in school support classes for younger pupils who study at the Centre, due to very unstable conditions at home. The university students also receive academic support classes, and the instructors are people of the region who have managed to reach university level.









At least one of the parents must take part in the professional modules provided each year, making them fit for jobs. This year, one of the modules is “Fashion and Dress-making” in which they may be able to make the uniforms for the next school year beginning in June. There is also an express training course for obtaining the Primary School Teaching diploma and another for Secondary School Teaching. The modules differ each year, and several people have since managed to get regular work or open small shops.









There is also an organisation for young people who do not work or who do not go to school: “Lestonnac for a better future”.

Grant holders and their families are monitored on a permanent basis. In the summer, there is a holiday camp for young children, organised by the university students, and a Women’s Week with training and leisure activities.


1. Regular schoolingAllocation of grants

There is a document in which the family applies for a grant, explaining its economic-social-cultural situation. Each applicant indicates the budget required for the school year or for each semester for university, and this budget is negotiated with the project leader. A contract is signed between the Centre and the applicant.

2.  Improvement of learning process: school support classes

School support classesThe grant holder and his/her little brothers and sisters come 4 times a week to the Centre for school support classes held by students in higher classes or volunteer adults who have been trained for such purposes and are accompanied.

3.  Creation of economic fundsVocational training modules with diploma.
Parents or tutors of the beneficiary may take the modules organised by the Centre, in order to be able to improve their standard of living and education. The Centre also organises modules that can encourage the creation of a fund for the project in which the parents or tutors take part, making these young people fit for a future job or managing a small shop.

4.  Development of educational motivation: Training Seminars

Seminars are organised in Self-knowledge, First-aid training in disasters, Sustainable development, Children’s education today.

There is a small library (completely destroyed by the tropical storm in 2011) and a computer for university students. The person coordinating the support classes monitors the educational progress of the pupils through regular contact with their teachers.

Every person living in Tambo or around the Macasandig district has access to the project. Progress is being noted gradually: an interest for education, vocational training, participation in basic communities and other organisations, work performed with attention to cleanliness and respect for the environment …

If we consider the costs of running and managing the project, we would hope that it will be supported by the community of beneficiaries, in the long term. The local authorities have granted tax exemption. The public university (Mindanao: University of Sciences and Technology) has included us in its grants system, encouraging our beneficiaries with special academic subsidies.

Cost: €19,278 of which €4278 are borne by the Centre and €15 000 are asked from ODNs