By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
A wedding photographer in Malabon City has found his own little way to help those affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis by printing thousands of educational worksheets for free.
These are distributed to students so that they can catch up with the lessons they might have missed following the cancellation of classes due to the outbreak.
Marvin Dungao of Barangay San Agustin said that he started the initiative on Tuesday, June 2, last week when he realized that some of the parents in his neighborhood could barely afford the cost to print their kids’ school learning materials
“Medyo nakakalungkot kasi na parang, yun nga, 10 sheets ‘di sila makapagpaprint kasi P50 na sya eh. Pagpasok nila sa shop, tatanungin, magkano po pa-print… Tapos sabihin nila, ah sige po salamat po. Makikita mo, sa mukha pa lang nila (It’s just saddening to see that they could not afford to print 10 pages which cost around P50. Everytime parents go inside my shop and ask for the cost of the print, they would just answer ‘Oh. Okay. Thank you.’ From there, you can know through their faces that they could not afford it],” he told the Manila Bulletin in an interview on Wednesday, June 3.
Although his main source of income as a photographer was affected due to lockdown, Dungao said, he and his wife did not hesitate to push through with the project since they could shoulder the bond papers and printers, which are needed for the worksheets.
“Yung sa cost, nag-allot na lang kami ng certain number of pages na i-piprint kada tao para lahat magkaroon [Regarding the cost, we have just allotted a certain number of pages to be printed per person so everyone will be covered],” he said.
Two days after launching their Facebook page ‘Free Student Worksheets Printing,’ Dungao said, they started receiving inquiries from various cities, including Valenzuela, Quezon City, and Makati.
“Naiisip namin, pano namin ipapadala doon, eh di na namin kaya i-shoulder yung shipping, medyo mahal [We were thinking how would we be able to ship them there since we could no longer shoulder the fee],” he said.
“So ang ginawa namin, sige i-print namin na maramihan for them. Katulad ng sa Valenzuela, nagprint kami ng 100-200 sheets, ipa-pick up na lang nila through couriers [What we did, we allowed bulk printing. Like in Valenzuela, we printed 100-200 sheets and have them picked up through couriers],” Dungao added, noting that some of them were even teachers who wanted to distribute the worksheet to students who could not afford to have them printed.
Dungao said that it keeps him inspired to continue his initiative everytime he sees the parents happy whenever they go to him.
“Sobrang sarap lalo na yung makita mong everyday dumadami magulang, tapos sobrang pasalamat sila kasi parang laking ginhawa sa kanila. ‘Yung ibang mga parents, nagsesend pa ng picture ng mga anak nila na ginagawa yung worksheet. Nakakagaan ng loob [It’s fulfilling everytime I see that more parents come and are very thankful since their burden is somehow lessened. Some parents even send pictures of their kids using the worksheets],” he said
Since then, Dungao noted, thousands of pages have already been printed. These were enough to cover the needs of hundreds of students, not only of his city but also of others. He has also inspired several others to do the same.
“May mga movement ng kabataan na gagawin daw nilang project kasi nakaka-inspire daw. Yun, mas matutuwa ako kasi parang nag-plant lang kmi ng seed, tapos nag-grow sya [There are students who want to do it as their own project because they said, it’s inspring. I’m happy because it seems like we planted the seed and it has grown,” he said, “Maraming tao na gustong gumaya [Many people now want to follow].”
Dungao said, some of his friends started extending assistance to him. But if there is one thing that he still wants to do, it is to be able to sustain the project and shoulder the shipping expenses so “more students would be reached and helped.”