Pre-school learning is the foundation of formal education. But according to UNICEF Philippines, for every 10 children aged 3 to 5 years, only six have access to a pre-school education.
This is the reality we live in today. The sad truth of the matter is that quality pre-school education is not accessible to everyone. At this early learning stage, less-fortunate children are already a step behind their peers, and will spend a lifetime compensating. Fortunately, for those of us who have experienced a fulfilling pre-school life, there is something we can do to help.
Empowering Brilliant Minds Foundation (EBM), together with Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-Angat at Pag-Asa (AGAPP) whose main proponent is presidential sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada, and The British School Manila, has created Kaagapay sa Silid (Partner in Classroom-Building), a charity project offering quality pre-school education to less-fortunate children by building pre-school classrooms and libraries in the poorest public schools throughout the country. With the proper resources, Kaagapay sa Silid aims to hone minds at their most trainable stage by providing infrastructure, teacher training and a sustainable curriculum.
Empowering Brilliant Minds is a non-stock, non-profit SEC-registered foundation whose mission is to help raise both awareness, and funds, to build pre-school classrooms in Filipino public schools anywhere they are needed in the Philippines. EBM is the brain-child of students from the British School Manila, led by a zealous 17-year old Anton Vera.
In fact, the concept for Empowering Brilliant Minds wasn’t born in an office, a boardroom or a business lunch; it was born at the family breakfast table of the Vera family one morning in June. On the way home from Church, the Vera children saw some very young street children, some as young as 3 years old, and talked about what kind of future they would face, one very different from their own. They decided to find a way to change children’s lives and secure a better future for them. The dream saw fruition when Anton’s parents, Atty. Bobet and Mrs. Ruthy Vera, put the dream into action by partnering with AGAPP and funding the first two classrooms in Aniban Central School in Bacoor, Cavite.
A family wholly committed towards a single mission of charity,(L-R): Francesca, Paolo, Mrs. Ruthy Vera, Atty. Bobet Vera, Miguel, Anton
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Atty. and Mrs. Bobet Vera with Swiss Ambassador and Mrs. Ivo Sieber
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Mother Theresa Awardee Maruxa Pita and Ms. Betsy Westendorp
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Performers Ms. Isay Alvarez and Mr. Robert Seña
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Tonton Mapa and Rhodora Palomar Fresnedi from Unilab, Inc.
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Ms. Siu Ping Par and Ms. Florence Ko of Furnitalia
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Mr. Felix R. Ang of CATS Motors, Inc.
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Mr. Philip Cu-Unjieng and Atty. Bobet Vera
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Ms. Joanne Rae Ramirez
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Mrs. Ruthy Vera and Mrs. Kaye Tinga
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Manolo & Pinky Abellada
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Ms. Francesca Vera, Empowering Brilliant Minds Youth Council Treasurer, turning over the key for 2 new classrooms to Ms. Gloria Mojica of Aniban Central School in Cavite
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Joseph Calata, President of Calata Corp. & U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr.
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Left to right: Viel Dee, Imelda Fabian, Gloria Mojica, principal of beneficiary school, Pinky Abellada and Atty. Bobet Vera
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Betsy Westendorp w/ Dimples Cruz holding the art painting donated for the auction.
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Francesca Vera gives AGAPP president Pinky Aquino Abellada a check for P2,550,000 to be used to build new preschool classrooms. This was funded by donations from Calata Corporation, Unilab Foundation, CATS Motors, Inc., Furnitalia, RCBC, Lee Jeans, Citisec Online, SMART Communications, and the Vera Family.
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Mrs. Dinah Hawtree speaking about the partnership between The British School Manila, Empowering Brilliant Minds Foundation and AGAPP
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Mrs. Viel Aquino Dee, Empowering Brilliant Minds Foundation Trustee and Mr. Anton Vera, Empowering Brilliant Minds Foundation Youth Council Chairman
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The British School Manila Choir with Senior School teachers.