More Filipinos, foreigners support fundraising drive to help students get devices for learning

Both Filipinos and foreigners have shown solidarity for a fundraising drive that helps students in the Philippines acquire tablets for the blended learning system through extending financial assistance to a Filipino health worker in Ireland who is holding the campaign.

Aldrin Licayan, the nurse behind the “Tech For Filipino Youth” campaign who initially helped 20 students in the province to own gadgets, has generated 30 more devices and counting after his funds already reached more than P250,000.

He has also been able to purchase two printing and scanning machines worth around P30,000 each for teachers in Zamboanga del Norte and Davao del Sur, who sent him requests as they need to produce learning modules for their less fortunate students.

First featured in Manila Bulletin, Licayan said his campaign has attracted more kind donors following his further interviews in various Philippine and foreign media. These include CNN Philippines, ABS-CBN News, TV5, PTV4, Ireland-based local newspaper Donegal News, and other news blogs.

"Because of the media dumami yung mga nagdonate na tiga dito (Ireland), hindi lang mga katrabaho ko pero mga locals din dito (Because of the media, the number of donors based in Ireland increased, not only my colleagues but also residents). They sent donations to my GoFundMe account," he said.

Initially, most of Licayan's donors were his friends, co-workers, and other Filipinos who are either close to him or have learned of his campaign through common friends.

Small business owners and online streamers are now also either donating a chunk of their income or hosting online shows to help him in his fundraising drive.

Currently, Licayan said, he is already working on papers needed at the Securities and Exchange Commission in the Philippines and the Charity Regulator in Ireland to register his campaign as a non-profit organization—a move he said he never expected.

Among Licayan’s project donors are small-time entrepreneurs and online Filipino community platform, Kumu, streamers who reached out to him after learning of his campaign.

Emmanuelle Vera, an actress, model and owner of bakedby.vera online bake shop, pledged half of her two-week earnings for the fund drive.

“I’ve always believed in using whatever resources you have to help the less fortunate, and when I found out from Aldrin that classes were going online and there were countless kids who didn’t have access to the technology necessary to study under these new circumstances, I knew I had to help out and support his vision,” she said.

Matty Juniosa, Idol Philippines finalist and a Kumu streamer who joined Licayan's campaign, said he decided to support the project when he met a teacher "who opened up about how his students are not able to come in complete attendance because of the lack of resources and ability to afford mobile devices to attend classes."

Licayan also expressed his gratitude to other streamers and volunteers including Micah Jabonite, Christian Flores, Tristan Lipa, Christian Ramirez, John Fred Marc, Yasmin Marcelo, Katarina Borja, who sustain the operations of his campaign.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Licayan’s project only proves that the Bayanihan (unity and compassion) spirit still prevails not only among the Filipinos but also other nationalities.

“But if there’s one thing I keep on reminding my team, it’s to make sure they are a blessing not only to others but also to themselves,” he said.